Man arrested after allegedly leading police on chase, hitting person with sledgehammer


KEWANEE, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — A Danville man is behind bars after allegedly striking another person with a sledgehammer, stealing multiple vehicles, and leading a local police department on a chase.

At approximately 5:30 a.m., Vern Yearian, 38, of Danville, got into a physical altercation with another individual at a residence in the 700 block of North Walnut Street in Kewanee, according to a press release from the Kewanee Police Department.

Yearian hit the individual with a sledgehammer then ran from the scene. He then stole a vehicle from Casey’s General Store on North Main Street. Police were not able to locate him or the stolen vehicle for some time.

Laster, Kewanee Police learned Yearian abandoned the vehicle near Atkinson and walked to a farmhouse where he stole a second vehicle, a pickup truck.

Yearian then drove back to the residence on North Walnut Street at approximately 8 a.m. and began ramming a vehicle belonging to the sledgehammer victim.

Both vehicles had major damage, the department said.

Kewanee Police drove to the area and attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but Yearian drove away in the stolen truck.

A chase ensued throughout the northeast side of Kewanee where Yearian eventually entered Northeast Park from 11th Street and began driving the wrong way.

Police followed and as Yearian approached the entrance of Northeast Park, he stopped at North Main Street due to a Kewanee Police Department vehicle stopping in front of the truck.

With the stolen truck now in between police cars, Yearian began to intentionally ram the stolen truck into the squad car in front of him in an attempt to flee.

Meanwhile, officers were able to break the driver’s side window, shut off the engine, and end the pursuit.

Yearian was taken into custody and transported to the Henry County Jail where he faces preliminary charges of aggravated fleeing and eluding, fleeing and eluding, two counts of possession of a stolen vehicle, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, and numerous traffic violations.

Yearian is also being held on outstanding warrants from Tazewell County, the Illinois Department of Corrections, and Boone County, Indiana.

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