facebook-logo twitter-logo


Local News

  • Parent Category: News

Dramtic robbery, hostage situation in Watseka; suspect dead

A robbery suspect in Watseka, (IL) is dead after triggering a high-speed police chase that ended in White County Thursday evening.

It started with an armed robbery in Watseka. The suspect reportedly hijacked a NAPA truck from a woman making deliveries, took the woman hostage and proceeded into Indiana.

The suspect is now identified as 29-year-old Don Smith of Elkhart, Indiana.  The female hostage was treated for an injury, but is OK.

In a press release, Watseka Police Chief Roger Lebeck said it started just before 2:30 pm Thursday.  Police  were dispatched to the Emerald Valley Farms Office building on Emerald Way, just south of Route 24.  Smith was identifed as a male subject walking away from the building. When police attempted to stop him, Smith produced a handgun and fled on foot.  

Police stated Smith ran to a nearby car wash, across Route 24, where he took a female hostage at gunpoint.  The woman was forced into her Napa Auto Parts delivery truck, the suspect and the woman fleeing from the scene eastbound into Indiana. Police gave chase on Route 24 with the pursuit terminated near the Indiana border.

Chief Lebeck said the Napa truck was spotted in Indiasna headed south of U-S 41.  Several units of Indiana law enforcement began a pursuit that ended near Monon, IN. 

Indiana State Police Sgt. Kim Riley told 94.1 WGFA News the pursuit went through Battley Ground and Brookston, past the Reynolds area where the suspect's vehicle was disabled by stop sticks.  Fleeing on foot, police exchanged gunfire with Smith, who was shot dead.

No officers were injured. Sgt. Riley said troopers from Lowell and Lafayette will be placed on administrative leave while the shooting incident is investigated.

Riley said the un-identified female hostage was treated for an injury at White Memorial Hospital in Monticello.

94.1 WGFA



Lafayette police were called around 5:30 p.m. to a report of an armed robbery at the Advance America on Elmwood Avenue. Officers said a man displayed a gun during the robbery. Two employees were in the store during the robbery and sustained minor injuries from having their hands bound by the suspect prior to leaving the business. Neither employee required medical attention.

The suspect was described by the employees as a Hispanic male, 5 foot 5 inches to 5 foot 8 inches, skinny build, shaved bald head, late 20s to early 30s in age, wearing dark clothing. The suspect had a woman with him when he arrived at the business. She was believed to be the hostage from the robbery in Illinois.

After the robbery, the suspect and the woman left in the same white truck. The vehicle was later observed by a deputy with the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office on N. Ninth Street near Battle Ground. Both the sheriff's office and Indiana State Police pursued the suspect vehicle.

LPD said the pursuit went through Battle Ground and into Brookston where the vehicle was disabled by stop sticks.The suspect ditched the vehicle and proceeded to carjack another. The suspect then headed north on State Road 43 towards Monon. The chase ended just north of Monon.

According to Indiana State Police Sgt. Kim Riley, officers surrounded the vehicle and the suspect pointed his weapon at officers. Riley said that's when the officers fired, killing the suspect. No officers were injured. Riley would not confirm which agenices shot their weapons, but said troopers from Lowell and Lafayette would be put on administrative leave during an investigation.

"There will be a finding one way or the other on how the shooting went down, be justified or [not] justified and then those officers will be put back in duty or whatever happens from there on," said Riley.

The hostage was taken to IU Health White Memorial Hospital where she was treated for superficial injuries and released. She was interviewed by investigators at the White County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff Pat Shafer told News 18 she declined to comment about the incident.

  • Parent Category: News

Severe weather possible for Midwest today

Emergency officials ask the public to prepare for possible severe weather today and tonight. Hail and possible tornado conditions could pose a threat.

Strong storms rumbled through the Southern Plains early Thursday, missing major population centers but offering a preview of bad weather that could hit Chicago, Detroit and other big cities in the Midwest later in the day.

The Storm Prediction Center said 57 million people lived in an area with an "enhanced risk" of hail, damaging winds and tornadoes Thursday. Tornadoes were reported Wednesday and early Thursday in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, but those areas saw minimal damage.

Indiana State Police said high winds toppled a tractor-trailer on Interstate 69 near Evansville, while utilities reported a number of power outages after wind gusts reached 70 mph. Authorities in Hendricks County, west of Indianapolis, blamed a 75-year-old woman's death on flash flooding.

Areas that won't see strong storms Thursday could see heavy rain instead.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Agriculture highlighted at DACC

The spotlight is on agriculture today (Thursday) at Danville Area Community College. The junior college is hosting its annual Ag Day.

Area agricultural organizations, businesses and individuals step up to help the College Ag Club in offering the event. Activities run from 9 am. thru 1 pm on the DACC campus.

The feature of the day is a barbecue lunch being served from 11 am. until 12:30 pm in the Mary Miller Gym. The lunch consists of a pork barbecue sandwich, applesauce, baked beans, potato chips, and milk or Pepsi...all for only 50-cents. The price represents the amount the farmer usually receives for the products in the meal after producing and selling them.

94.1 wgfa

  • Parent Category: News

T-storms rock Champaign, Danville; move into Indiana

A line of severe thunderstorms moving across Champaign and Vermilion County lashed out at Indiana with large hail and heavy rainfall.

A severe thunderstorm warning covered several central Indiana counties this (Wednesday) morning as the storms cut across the state. Observers reported that large hailstone fell on Indianapolis' northwest side and were accompanied by heavy rain and lightning.

A flood warning covered much of central Indiana, and a flash flood warning was in effect for far west-central Indiana, which was hit by heavy rainfall earlier Wednesday.

The National Weather Service says severe weather is possible across Indiana through early Thursday, with the main threat being large damaging hail. Those storms will also carry the risk of damaging winds and isolated tornadoes.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Official canvass will verify close Iroquois County votes

Aldermanic and trustee races in Iroquois County and school board contests will need to be officially canvassed before winners are declared from Tuesday's Consolidated Election.

Some results were determined by just a single vote, others by a very few, and some tied. Absentee ballots, still out there, could be factors, according to County Clerk Lisa Fancher.

Two candidates for Watseka School District #9 tied for the final seat in a 4-seat contest. Seven candidates were on the ballot Tuesday.

Incumbent board member Crystal Blair and Toby Schippert each received 313 votes. Kirk McTaggart was top vote-getter (482), Bob Burd (427) and Michael Kaeb (349) will win seats.

The top four candidates in the Central #4 District Yuesday were Troy Meier (273), Kevin Hack (257), Sarah Shoven (224) and Lisa Behrens (212).

Cissna Park Unit #6 winners were Jason Edelman (264), Bud Petry (241), Jeremy Seggebruch (164).

In the Village of Woodland trustee race, just one vote separated the third and fourth place candidates for the three seats. Becky Pries received 20 votes, Tom Oberloh 19.

Marleen Purdin was top vote-getter with 31. Matt Ailey had 27.

A six-person trustee race in Onarga was close. Angie Martinez was the 3rd place finisher with 105, just two votes better than Cole Rabe with 103.

Matt Clark received 128 votes and Jerry Haynes 116.

In Loda – newcomer Jon Boone (51) and newcomer Jeff Johnson (46) were winners along with incumbent Ronda Breeden (49). Incumbent John Zalaker was defeated in a re-election bid ((20). Regina Ptacek had 32 votes.

94.1 wgfa