Welfare Check on Trucker Leads to Highway Standoff With Police
Skokie, IL – A Michigan trucker was taken into custody after an almost four hour standoff with police on an Illinois highway on Wednesday.
The standoff began around 9:15 a.m. on Interstate 94 (otherwise known in the area as the Edens Expressway) near the outbound ramp to Old Orchard Road.
While the Illinois State Police (ISP) has yet to put out an official release, CBS2 Chicago is reporting the incident was precipitated when officials from a trucking company requested a well-being check on one of its drivers.
Photos and video footage from the scene show a white tractor-trailer belonging to Byron Center, MI-based Van Eerden Trucking.
ISP located the truck on the right-shoulder of the northbound lanes of I-94 and approached the vehicle.
When troopers tried to speak with the driver, CBS2 reported officials noticed a handgun in the driver’s lap.
The driver reportedly barricaded themselves inside the truck as additional police and negotiators were called to the scene.
A Caucasian individual with long brown hair, wearing jeans and black t-shirt, could be seen yelling at police officers from the cab of the truck.
Witnesses to the incident said snipers were on the roof nearby Niles North High School, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Due to the tensions surrounding the incident, officials shut down I-94 in both directions between Dempster Street and Skokie Boulevard during the duration of the standoff.
Local outlet ABC7 Chicago said the trucker is a 54-year-old from Michigan.
In a live news broadcast, ABC7 reporter Ravi Baichwal gave a confusing report that the driver was referred to both as “Gregory” and “Dominique” during negotiations with authorities.
Audio obtained by local news outlets reveal negotiators saying, “Let’s pray, let’s pray,” during its talks with the trucker.
The Chicago Tribune reported the trucker was seen walking around the semi-truck at some point during the almost four hour standoff, with the gun in-hand.
According to the Tribune, authorities “hung back” and allowed the driver to walk peacefully around the truck.
The standoff ended without any bloodshed when the driver exited the truck around 12:20 p.m. and was taken into custody without further incident.
According to ISP, the trucker was transported to a Skokie hospital.
Authorities have not released any further details regarding the events that led up to the standoff.
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) reported that all lanes of I-94 were reopened as of 1:30 p.m.
The standoff came on the same day IDOT and ISP — in partnership with the Illinois Trucking Association — handed out free boxed lunches and face masks north of Sherman to “thank truckers for their efforts during this pandemic.”
Transportation Nation Network (TNN) has reached out to the ISP for more details and will update the story as more information becomes available.
Photos courtesy of ABC 7