DANVILLE — A police chase that began in another state ended in Danville, requiring a bomb squad to get involved in the aftermath.
In a press release issued Monday morning, Danville Police said that at 5:09 p.m. Friday, officers were involved in a vehicle pursuit which was initiated by Indiana State Police in Warren County, Indiana and made its way across state lines and entered the City of Danville.
Indiana authorities were looking for 34-year-old Michael A. Scuteri of Lafayette, Ind., who was being sought in connection with an arson to a residence in Warren County.
Indiana State Police located Scuteri in his vehicle and attempted to conduct a traffic stop when the pursuit began and continued from Warren County into Fountain County and ultimately came to the City of Danville.
Danville Police assisted in the vehicle pursuit once it came into the Danville city limits. A Danville Police officer was able to deploy stop sticks in front of the vehicle resulting in flattening the suspect’s vehicle tires. The suspect vehicle then continued for a short distance before side-swiping another vehicle in traffic and then striking a crossing guard pole and the vehicle then began to catch fire. The suspect vehicle continued and struck a concrete retaining wall in front of the Christway Church at the corner of Main St and Buchanan St where the vehicle came to a stop and the fire from the vehicle intensified.
The Danville Fire Department arrived and quickly extinguished the vehicle fire which allowed several officers to approach and extract Scuteri who was the sole occupant of the vehicle. Medical personnel transported Scuteri to a local hospital where he was treated for burns and injuries he sustained from the crash — those injuries are not considered life threatening.
Due to the nature of the fire being unknown and the arson charges Scuteri was facing from the incident in Indiana, the decision was made to consult with the University of Illinois Police Bomb Squad and the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office. As a precautionary measure the University of Illinois Police Bomb Squad arrived to assess the scene and during their assessment they located a suspicious briefcase inside the vehicle.
The members of the bomb squad conducted a controlled detonation of the briefcase and then examined the contents. During the examination it was learned that the briefcase contained a laptop and other electronics but no explosive material was found.
A further examination of the suspect’s vehicle was also conducted and no explosive material was located inside the vehicle. A preliminary investigation indicates that the cause of the fire may have been from the suspect vehicles fuel line being ruptured during the collision with the crossing guard pole.
Earlier online and social media reports that the vehicle exploded from a bomb have proven to be inaccurate and misleading. A warrant has been issued by Warren County, Indiana for Scuteri with charges of arson and resisting arrest. Scuteri also will have charges in Vermilion County, Illinois for aggravated fleeing and eluding and other various traffic offenses. Upon Scuteri’s release from the hospital he will be taken into custody and transported back to Indiana on his outstanding warrant. No other injuries were reported during this incident.
The investigation into this incident continues and no other information is being released at this time.
Anyone who has information regarding this incident is asked to call Danville Police at 217-431-2250 or the Vermilion County Crime Stoppers at 217-446-TIPS.