Kewanee police: Man struck someone with sledgehammer, led officers on chase

(Kewanee, IL) -- An Illinois man is facing multiple charges after police say he assaulted someone with a sledgehammer, stole two vehicles, and led police on a chase that ended Friday morning in Kewanee.

The Kewanee Police Department says 38 year old Verne Yearian, of Danville, is facing charges of aggravated fleeing and eluding, fleeing and eluding, two counts of possession of a stolen vehicle, aggravated battery, aggravated assault and multiple traffic violations.

The Police Department said in a post on its Facebook page Friday:

Around 5:30 Friday morning, Yearian got into a physical fight with a person at a home in the 700 block of North Walnut Street. Yearian struck the person with a sledgehammer before leaving on foot. They say he then stole a vehicle from Casey’s General Store on North Main Street. Officers were unable to locate Yearian or the stolen vehicle at that time.

Police later learned Yearian abandoned the vehicle near rural Atkinson. After abandoning the truck, he walked to a farmhouse, stole a pickup truck, and then drove back to Kewanee.

Investigators say he then returned to the home on North Walnut Street around 8:00 AM and began ramming a vehicle belonging to the person he got into the fight with earlier that morning. Both vehicles sustained major damage.

Kewanee Police were alerted and went to the area where they found Yearian driving the stolen truck. Officers tried to pull over the pickup truck, but Yearian took off. Police say a chase ensued throughout the northeast side of town, with Yearian eventually entering Northeast Park from East 11th Street and driving the wrong way through the park with police still following.

As he approached the entrance of Baker Park, police say Yearian stopped at North Main Street. Another Kewanee police vehicle was on North Main Street and parked in front of the stopped truck.

With squad cars directly behind him, police say Yearian began to intentionally ram the vehicle in front in an attempt to flee. Officers were able to break the driver’s side window, shut the vehicle off, and end the chase.

Yearian was eventually arrested and taken to the Henry County Jail. He also is being held on warrants out of Tazwell County, the Illinois Department of Corrections, and Boone County, Indiana, police said in the Facebook post.

(Photo by KWQC)

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