STERLING – A Whiteside County sheriff’s deputy was placed on administrative leave after firing his gun at a car during a chase Wednesday night.
Three men were arrested after the chase; a handgun was found near the suspects’ vehicle.
That’s according to a news release sent by the sheriff’s department almost 20 hours after the incident.
The deputy, whose name isn’t being released, fired “after narrowly avoiding being run down,” the release said.
Passengers later told authorities that driver Andre L. Peat said, “I’m going to have to hit this guy,” the release said.
Illinois State Police will investigate the shooting, then Whiteside County State’s Attorney Trish Joyce will decide whether charges are warranted.
The three men were arrested just south of Rock Falls, on County Line Road near Archer Road, around 7:30 p.m. The chase involved Sterling and Rock Falls police, Lee and Whiteside County sheriff’s deputies and state police.
A handgun was found near where Peat fled the car; he told police he had tossed it, the release said.
According to information provided earlier by Sterling Police Chief Ron Potthoff:
Officers were trying to stop a car driving through Sterling Wednesday night when the driver fled across First Avenue Bridge and into Rock Falls. Police pursued the car as it headed south, then west into Whiteside County, then east into Lee County, where deputies had thrown down a spike strip on County Line Road south of Rock Falls.
The strip caused the car to veer into a ditch. Peat, 24, of Sterling, ran from the scene, as did two of his passengers: Robert M. Patterson, 27, of Sterling, and Lavelle T. Sykes, 26, of Chicago.
Two others stayed in the car.
Patterson and Sykes soon were arrested. A police dog was brought out to track Peat, who was hiding in a corn field, and a state police airplane was called out to help, but Potthoff didn’t know whether it was put to use because Peat was soon found with the aid of thermo-imaging glasses.
The two passengers who stayed in the car, a man and a woman from Whiteside County, were released without charges, Pothoff said; he declined to release their names.
Peat is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, a felony, and possession of a firearm without a FOID card and obstructing/resisting a peace officer, both misdemeanors. He also is wanted on four warrants, two each from Lee and Ogle counties.
Peat was in Whiteside County Jail on Thursday on $500,000 bond.
Patterson is charged with obstructing/resisting a peace officer; he also has a Lee County warrant. He posted $300 bond and was given a notice to appear in court.
Sykes is charged with obstructing/resisting a peace officer. He was given a notice to appear in court.
According to court records, all three have local felony convictions:
Peat, formerly of Dixon, has a pending felony domestic battery case in Lee County Court; he was arrested July 1, 2013, and a warrant was issued for his arrest June 19. He failed to appear at a pretrial hearing after being told there was a warrant for his arrest in another case, records show.
On Jan. 24, 2011, he was charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving death or injury; he was sentenced to 2 years, 6 months probation after he pleaded guilty in Whiteside County Court that June to failure to report an accident and possession of drug paraphernalia.
On Nov. 3, 2011, Peat was charged with aggravated battery in a public place and mob action, again in Whiteside County. He pleaded guilty to mob action on Jan. 24, 2012, and was sentenced to 1 year with the Department of Corrections. His probation in the previous case was revoked and he also was given a year with the DOC, to run after the mob action sentence.
He was convicted of domestic battery on Oct. 27, 2011, in Ogle County, and was sentenced to 4 years. On Jan. 1, 2013, he was charged with violating his probation; a warrant for failure to appear, the third in that case, was issued June 9.
On Nov. 8, 2012, in Lee County Court, Patterson was sentenced to 2 years probation for forgery. Eight days later, he was sentenced to 2 years, 6 months probation in Whiteside County Court for the same offense.
Sykes has three felony drug convictions stemming from two 2009 Whiteside County Court cases. He was sentenced to 4 years on each, all to run concurrently. Two were for selling cocaine, one for selling narcotics.