LANSING — Dianne Langston said she and her husband Brent were driving from O'Hare International Airport to their home in Wanatah on Friday — fresh off a Hawaiian vacation — when they found themselves in the heart of a massive police pursuit on Interstate 80/94.
"It was the most bizarre thing I've ever seen," Langston said.
Her husband was driving eastbound on I-80/94 west of the Indiana-Illinois border when a police officer's squad car flew past them, she said. The officer positioned his vehicle sideways in a far right lane before exiting to warn drivers to move over, she said.
"He had his flashers going, waving these people down," she said.
Not knowing what to do, her husband moved over into the far left lane, thinking he was getting out of the way, she said. Not long after that, she said, a black Dodge Charger sped past the family's vehicle at a high rate of speed, she said.
"It's like he had blown a tire. He was driving on three tires and one rim. There were massive amounts of sparks. The tire looked completely orange," she said.
"And then here comes the sirens. The police cars were just zooming past us, and then they started jumping out of their (squad cars), climbing over the median that separates the east and westbound lanes."
Langston said she didn't witness the capture of the suspect or suspects, but detectives could be seen placing evidence markers along the expressway. Later, about a half-mile ahead, they saw the suspect vehicle in poor shape, but it was empty.
Langston said she called her daughter not long after the incident, "a little panicked."
"I said ‘Melissa, Turn on your TV. This had to be extensive. Tell me what’s going on?'" Langston recalled saying. "We were trying to find out information while we sat there."
The police pursuit began in the Chicago suburbs and ended in a crash not far from eastbound Torrence Avenue. The incident and subsequent investigation tied up traffic for hours in both directions, authorities said.
Information about what may have prompted the pursuit was not immediately available Friday night.
Lansing police said they assisted Chicago police in the suspect's capture. Indiana State Police also assisted.
Lanes have since reopened, but police urged commuters to seek alternative routes due to expected residual delays during afternoon rush hour.
"All subjects were taken in to custody. Lansing (police and fire) units assisted in the capture and crash recovery," according to Lansing police.
The irony of being less than an hour away from their Wanatah home, severely jetlagged, when the chaos ensued is not lost on her, she said.
"When we finally got moving, we noticed we were underneath the 'Welcome to Indiana' sign. It's like, 'Welcome home,'" she said.
Recent arrests booked into Lake County Jail