Good morning, troops. It's Thursday, Aug. 22.
A Peoria Heights woman was arrested Wednesday night after the automobile she was driving struck a police officer in rural Woodford County, authorities said.
Subsequently, Brittney Y. Pickett led officers on a multi-county, slow-speed chase on Interstate 74.
During a court appearance Thursday in Eureka, Pickett was charged with fleeing and eluding a police officer, driving on a suspended license and three counts of aggravated battery.
Bond was set at $100,000. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Sept. 5.
Pickett, whose 35th birthday is next week, was being held in the Woodford County Jail.
Her arrest culminated a bizarre half-hour or so that began about 10 p.m. Wednesday at a rest area along eastbound I-74 between Goodfield and Carlock.
An officer from the Deer Creek-Goodfield Police Department was dispatched to the rest area after somebody there apparently called the 911 emergency number and hung up before speaking, Chief Brad Potts said.
A Woodford County Sheriff's Office deputy joined the Deer Creek-Goodfield officer.
When they arrived, they found a gray Lexus in the parking lot, Potts said. It was the only vehicle in the rest area, apparently.
The officers attempted to communicate with the driver, Pickett, but she didn't acknowledge them, Potts said. Pickett shifted the car into reverse, then into drive.
In the process, the car struck the Deer Creek-Goodfield officer. Potts described it as a glancing blow.
"My officer was able to mostly get out of the way," Potts said Thursday.
Pickett then drove onto the eastbound interstate, with officers in pursuit. Near Carlock, Pickett made a U-turn and headed west.
The chase never exceeded about 50 mph, according to Potts. No vehicles were damaged.
"There wasn't a tremendous amount of traffic, because of the time of night," Potts said. "So nothing ever really got out of hand. It wasn't really speeding."
A few miles east of Morton, the Deer Creek-Goodfield officer was able to position his vehicle in front of Pickett's to slow it and force it to the shoulder.
The officer visited Advocate Eureka Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
During the entire episode Wednesday night, Pickett said almost nothing, according to Potts.
"We're not sure if she didn't want to talk with us because she was suspended (license), or if there's some kind of mental issue going on," he said.
"All we wanted to do was ask her, 'Hey, did you call 911?' If she said no, we'd move on. We approached her to see if she was OK. Then this whole thing started."