Driver charged after fleeing law enforcement

By Nick Walton -

A driver was charged with a third degree felony over the weekend after he allegedly fled from law enforcement.

Jeffrey D. Keeler, 50, of 1265 S. Dugan Road, Urbana, was charged with failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer.

According to a Champaign County Sheriff’s Office court statement filed in the municipal court, on Saturday at 6:10 p.m., the Champaign County 911 Communications Center received a call from a woman saying an older white Buick southbound on North U.S. Route 68, near East state Route 296, went left of center and struck a guardrail before being driven from the scene.

At 6:15 p.m., deputies located a vehicle matching the description at East Lawn Avenue at the city limits and attempted a traffic stop near the intersection of East Lawn Avenue and Children’s Home Road.

The suspect vehicle continued through a posted stop sign, failing to yield at the sign before heading southbound on East Lawn Avenue toward Urbana. Deputies continued pursuing the vehicle as it continued southbound on East Lawn Avenue as they observed it traveling in the left lane at an estimated speed of 50 mph in a 35 mph zone.

The vehicle stopped near the intersection of Boyce Street and Madison Avenue. Keeler exited the vehicle and stood in the middle of the roadway. Deputies noticed Keeler had blood running down his face from the top of his head.

Once Keeler was put in handcuffs, he told deputies he hit a mailbox and failed to stop when deputies turned on their overhead lights because “I (expletive)ed up.” He said he did not want to get caught as he had been drinking.

Urbana EMS personnel responded so Keeler could receive medical treatment. He reportedly became argumentative with paramedics and would not comply with requests. Keeler was eventually taken to Mercy Memorial Hospital where he was argumentative with hospital staff.

In addition to the felony charge, Keeler was also cited for traffic violations including operating a vehicle under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, driving to the left of center of roadway and failure to use a seat belt.

According to municipal court’s website, Keeler’s bond was set at $15,000 Monday and he was ordered to have no driving privileges if bond is posted. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 18.

By Nick Walton

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.

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