A 52-year-old man from Illinois was arrested after he fled from a Marion County Sheriff’s Office corporal while driving a stolen vehicle.
On Sunday, June 26, the MCSO corporal was near the 9800 block of E Highway 40 in Marion County when a gold Chevrolet Silverado was observed. The MCSO report indicated that the pickup truck had been reported stolen, and the corporal activated the patrol car’s lights and attempted a felony traffic stop.
The corporal stepped out of the patrol car and commanded the pickup truck’s driver, later identified as Jimmie Lee Leeks, Jr., to also step outside. Leeks ignored the corporal’s instructions, placed the vehicle in drive, and traveled westbound at a high rate of speed.
The corporal activated the patrol car’s sirens and pursued Leeks for approximately two miles. Leeks then pulled over onto the side of the road and surrendered.
Leeks was taken into custody and an interview was conducted. He claimed that he did not steal the truck. He told the corporal that he took the truck from the victim and he “drives it nearly every day.”
When the corporal asked why he fled, Leeks refused to answer any further questions.
There were two passengers who were in the truck with Leeks. When the corporal had initially attempted the traffic stop, the passengers advised that Leeks immediately accelerated and stated that “he did not want to go to jail.”
Both passengers advised that they yelled at Leeks to stop the truck, and eventually he pulled over. They both told the corporal that they had no idea that the truck was stolen.
The corporal made contact with an officer from the Peoria Heights Police Department in Illinois, and the officer confirmed that Leeks’ rights to use the truck had been previously revoked. The officer, along with the victim, had both contacted Leeks and requested that the vehicle be returned.
Leeks admitted that he had received text messages from the victim asking for the truck to be returned. He advised that he continued to drive it to Florida since “he was already on his way” to the state.
A computer search of Leeks revealed that his Florida driver’s license was suspended in 2009 and 2018 for failure to pay, and he admitted that he knew it was suspended.
Leeks was arrested and transported to Marion County Jail where he is currently being held without bond. He is facing felony charges for grand theft of a motor vehicle and resisting an officer, along with a misdemeanor charge for driving with a suspended license.
A court date has been scheduled on Tuesday, August 2 at 9 a.m., according to jail records.