Two Lake Villa police officers were injured Monday night after a high-speed chase along Route 83, officials said.
Deputy Police Chief Roger Schroeder said the officers were siting at the Citgo gas station at the corner of Route 83 and Grand Avenue when a purple minivan pulled up to the corner and stopped at a red light.
When the light turned green, the van punched the accelerator, squealed its tires, and took off at a high rate of speed, he said.
Officer Kurt Winquist, who has spent five years on the force, and Sgt. James DeCaro, a veteran of 10 years, turned onto Route 83 in pursuit of the van, Schroeder said.
"This van was flying. I dont know how fast it was going, but it was well over the speed limit in that area," Schroeder said. "These two officers are great drivers. Neither have ever had an accident and both are well-trained in high-speed pursuits."
He said the officers had pursuit lights on when the van went up and over the Route 83 bridge near Petite Lake Road. As DeCaro approached the top of the bridge, however, he noticed the van had made a U-turn and was speeding back at him.
He said DeCaro tried to do the same U-turn maneuver on the bridge, but couldn't make the tight turn. In the middle of his three-point turn, he was hit in the side by Winquist.
"When (Winquist) came over the hill, he had no idea that DeCaro was turning around," he said. "The two hit each other and the van got away."
He said both officers were taken to Condell Medical Center in Libertyville for precautionary reasons. He said each has been released from the hospital.
He said the squad cars are at the village public works garage while the department decides whether to have them fixed or to bring in two new vehicles.
"The cars were the two newest cars we had here," he said. "For right now, we are going to have to pull community service vehicles and school resource vehicles until we decide what we can do about it."
He added, anyone with any information about the purple minivan should contact Lake Villa police at (847) 356-6106.