Cross-county chase ends in 2 arrests for armed robbery

Update: 6:06 pm
DOUGLAS COUNTY -- A couple from Rockford caused chaos throughout Central Illinois Wednesday night. 41-year old Robert Taylor and 29-year old Lindsay Whittington were arrested after a high-speed chase. It lasted more than an hour and took authorities through five different counties. WCIA-3's Erica Quednau follows their trail.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Department says the pair had warrants out for their arrest for armed robbery. When authorities spotted the stolen van they were in about midnight in McLean County, police tried to pull them over, but the two weren't going down without a fight.

"We're too small on our own to do a lot of everything, but combined, we have incredible power."

Together, it took more than five police departments and three sheriff's departments to stop these two on the run. Peter Buckley is Chief Deputy at the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. He says, after Taylor and Whittington left McLean County, they headed for his territory.

"It's not an everyday occurrence here. High rates of speed, sometimes the car would turn off its lights, sometimes it would veer into other lanes."

A dangerous situation for officers involved and people on the road, especially when the couple headed into populated areas like downtown Villa Grove and Camargo.

"When it violated individual police department's pursuit policies, they would stop and the same with us."

For the next hour, the fugitives drove into parts of Champaign, Coles and Moultrie counties. The couple ended up in a ditch near Arcola. They tried to flee on foot, but were caught within minutes.

"It was an incredibly team effort throughout Central Illinois. All the police departments, they were able to use the emergency radio network and they were able to communicate with each other."

At one point during the chase, the couple's van actually crashed into a deputy's car. No one was hurt.

Original: 10:12 am
DOUGLAS COUNTY -- A couple was arrested for armed robbery after at least three pursuits were called off for safety. It started Wednesday, February 20, in Le Roy, when police reported a 1999 Dodge minivan fled a traffic stop. Authorities say the van had a registration plate entered as stolen from the Rockford area.

The vehicle was then seen running a red light on Highway 36, near Interstate 57, in Tuscola. When a deputy tried to stop the vehicle, the driver turned off the headlights and drove into oncoming traffic.

Police in Villa Grove next noticed the vehicle speeding and ended their chase when the driver fled to Champaign County at speeds of more than 100-miles per hour.

Overall, the pursuit lasted about an hour and covered around 50-miles through Douglas, Coles and Moultrie counties. Officials say, at one point, the suspect vehicle crossed two lanes of traffic and hit a squad car causing damage but no injuries. The chase finally ended when the suspect vehicle crashed into a ditch on Douglas County Road 570 East, about three miles west of Arcola.

Two suspects, 41-year old Robert Taylor and 29-year old Lindsay Whittington, then fled from the vehicle on foot. After being taken into custody, authorities found both had active arrest warrants from Winnebago County for armed robbery with a handgun. 

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