A young Missouri woman heads to prison this week for her role in a car theft that led to a high-speed chase through Pekin and two crashes, one with a police vehicle.
Samantha Deardorff, 18, was sentenced Wednesday to a three-year term after she pleaded guilty to possessing a stolen vehicle only five weeks after her arrest.
Her alleged partner in the escapade, Dillon Stokes, 17, remains charged for now only with driving under the influence of drugs, a misdemeanor, and several traffic-related violations. No charges for the incident, which began in Bartonville, have been filed yet in Peoria County.
The two decided the evening of Feb. 15 to steal a car and drive to Missouri to buy methamphetamine, Bartonville’s police chief said. The theft, like their getaway, didn’t go unnoticed.
They found a late-model SUV parked in the driveway of a home where a family gathering was taking place, its keys in the ignition. To steal it they had to ram a car parked behind it out of the way, said Bartonville Chief Brian Fengel.
Deardorff, who with Stokes listed a West Plains, Mo., address, apparently drove the SUV down U.S. Route 24 to the McNaughton Bridge and into Pekin, Fengel said. Area police by then were on the lookout for them.
Pekin police began to close in when a witness reported a vehicle had struck another one parked in the 300 block of Derby Street. At that point Stokes got behind the wheel and drove the SUV south to Koch Street. An officer spotted and gave chase as the SUV sped east to 14th Street.
There Stokes turned south, only to find a Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department squad car just outside the city’s limits, the affidavit stated.
With several police vehicles now in pursuit, Stokes swerved off the road, turned around and struck the county vehicle as the deputy tried to block him, said Pekin Police Public Information Officer Mike Eeten.
That collision left the SUV disabled and officers, after the couple refused to surrender, broke its windows and pulled them out. They found “a large amount” of prescription pills in the vehicle, Eeten said.
Deardorff was wanted on a larceny warrant in Missouri. Stokes, who also listed a Bartonville address, was taken to the Peoria County Juvenile Detention Center with no felony yet charged against him. He also was cited for speeding and disobeying traffic control devices.
Follow Michael Smothers at Twitter.com/msmotherspekin