Naplate Incident Update 3/6/23

Sheriff Adam Diss releases,
On 3/05/2023 deputies were dispatched to 701 Boyce Memorial Drive ( US Silica, ) Ottawa, in reference to an abandoned vehicle parked in the pit. Deputies responded and determined the vehicle belonged to a person who was reported missing/endangered, by Ottawa PD, on the morning of 3/05/2023.
Deputies searched the are. A short time later a male was found deceased, in a ravine, on the south side of the property. The Coroner , LaSalle County Detectives, MABAS Division 25 Technical Rescue Team, and the Emergency Management Agency were dispatched to assist.
The male was later identified as Joshua Szarka (31) of Ottawa. The LaSalle County Coroner’s Office will be conducting a forensic autopsy on 03/07/2023. No fouls play suspected at this time. The incident is still under investigation by the LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office, the Ottawa Police Department, and the LaSalle County Coroner’s Office.

Oglesby Police Incident 12/29/20 With Shots Fired

OGLESBY POLICE DEPARTMENT responded to a suspicious RV parked at Illinois Valley Community College. Below are tweets of the incident along with initial call audio and the State Police ISPERN. Audio was edited for dead air space so the timing is not correct.   
  • Orlando Smith Road Shut down Black passenger Squad 407. Suspect armed with handgun, Subj shot out window. Believe to be still in the area around IVCC parking lot.
  • Addional Information Suspect Shot by police and on foot N2575th & East 369th Rd suspect balding with a beard and possibly leaving a blood trail –
  • Peru , Utica , Bureau County EMA requested with drones Command Van requested from Bureau Co. Command Post IVCC parking lot.
  • Shippingsport Bridge has suspect at gun point at a distance and responding to commands.
  • 1-Frank-6 advises Suspect in custody and weapon recovered. 

Serena Community Fire Protection District, Chief Steven Kellogg

After 42+ years in the fire service and 35 of those years with the Serena Community Fire Protection District, Chief Steven Kellogg has made the decision to retire. His retirement comes with great sadness to the community and to the members of the department. Steve was a dedicated Chief and member of the department that can never be replaced. Many of his accomplishment’s to the District have come in the form of retrieving several thousands of dollar’s in grant money, the replacement of our heavy rescue squad truck, also the replacement of our aerial ladder and the replacement of our Chiefs buggy all which were done under his tenure as Chief. One of the major accomplishments was the completion of the District’s new training facility which will be used to train firefighters for years to come. On behalf of the Serena Firefighters Association, and the Serena Community Fire Protection District we want to say THANK YOU for all you have done for your Community and your fellow man.

Interstate 80 fatal Traffic accident 9/25/20


The Following Preliminary Information is Being Released by the Illinois State Police District 17

WHAT: Six Unit Fatal Traffic Crash

WHERE: Interstate 80 westbound west of 13th Road (milepost 86.75), LaSalle County

WHEN: Sept. 25, 2020 at approximately 9:22 a.m.

VEHICLE: Unit 1: 2014 Black Freightliner Box Truck

Unit 2: Unknown (Pending Investigation)

Unit 3: 2018 White Dodge Grand Caravan

Unit 4: 2004 Black Dodge Dakota

Unit 5: 2018 White Dodge Ram 3500

Unit 6: 2007 Red Volvo Truck Tractor Semi-Trailer Combination

DRIVER: Unit 1: Raymond J. Ramel, 64-year-old male of Manhattan, IL (Transported to a local area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries)

Unit 2: 39-year-old male of Joliet, IL (Transported to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries)

Unit 3: 47-year-old female of LaSalle, IL (Deceased, Pending next of kin notification)

Unit 4: Debra M. Herkes, 55-year-old-female of Naplate, IL (Transported to a local area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries)

Unit 5: Phillip G. Vincent, 68-year-old male of Jackson, MI

Unit 6: Marnell M. Briggs, 43-year-old male of Alsip, IL

PASSENGER: Unit 2: 43-year-old male of Joliet, IL (Deceased, Pending next of kin notification)

Unit 5: Sherry L. Vincent, 68-year-old female of Jackson, MI

PRELIMINARY: A preliminary investigation indicates the following occurred: Due to construction on Interstate 80 westbound west of 13th Road (milepost 86.75), traffic was slow/stopped. Units 1, 2, 3, and 4 were in lane 3. Units 5 and 6 were in lane 2. Unit 1 which was carrying automobile batteries failed to reduce speed upon approaching slow/stopped traffic and struck Units 2, 3, and 4. Due to the impact from the crash, Units 1, 2, 3, and 4 became fully engulfed in flames. Unit 5 had damage to the rear and front middle while Unit 6 had rear end damage. The occupants of Units 5 and 6 refused medical attention on scene.

At approximately 9:24 a.m., all westbound lanes of traffic were closed for the traffic crash investigation and cleanup of debris. All westbound traffic was diverted off the Interstate to milepost 90. At approximately 2:37 p.m., all lanes were reopened. The investigation is ongoing, and there is no further information at this time.

CHARGES: Pending investigations


LaSalle County Under-Sheriff Retires

LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office

Undersheriff Mike Renner badge #036 gave his final end of shift today after 35 years of service. Undersheriff Renner started his career in law enforcement as a patrol deputy. He moved into investigations as well as being part of the Tactical Response Team. He continued his career as Chief Deputy and then became Undersheriff. Your retirement is well deserved !! Undersheriff Mike Renner you are officially 10-42.

Under-sheriff Mike Renner Retirement farewell Audio

Peru Pursuit 10/23/19

Press Release
Peru Police Department
Special Investigations Unit (SIU)
Wednesday October 23, 2019
Chief Doug Bernabei
For Immediate Release


Michael D. Willis Black Male DOB 3-19-85
Hazel Crest or Chicago, Illinois
5’09’ 190 pounds black hair/brown eyes wearing dark shirt

At 1:10 pm today Wednesday October 23, 2019 Detectives of the Peru Police Department Special Investigations Unit and Agents with the TRIDENT drug task force were conducting a joint undercover purchase of suspected heroin from Willis at a north Peru parking lot near I-80 and Illinois Rt 251. It is alleged that during the operation Willis sold directly to an undercover police officer suspected heroin in exchange for money.

When the transaction was completed the undercover officer alerted stakeout drug detectives who attempted to approach Willis, who was in his vehicle and take him into custody. As the drug detectives approached his vehicle, he took flight in his vehicle leaving the lot in a fleeing and unsafe manner. The detectives chose not to cause Willis to crash his vehicle and allowed him to leave onto Rt 251 as to avoid an escalated incident in the parking lot. Willis is known to police to have an extensive violent criminal history that preliminary appears to have faced homicide related and gun charges and has spent time in Illinois Department of Corrections.

Surveillance officers assigned to Rt 251 then attempted to stop his vehicle but he instead he entered I-80 travelling westbound. Peru police chief Doug Bernabei and Detective Sergeant Dennis Hocking, in separate police vehicles cars pursued Willis into Bureau County on I-80 but as the suspect vehicle reached west of Rt 89 we no longer attempted to pursue the suspect as his speeds reached 120 mph. Due to the risk to public safety the Peru portion of the pursuit was terminated on I-80 approximately 2 miles west of the Spring Valley Rt 89 exit. Peru radioed ahead and advised Bureau County authorities that Willis likely would exit I-180 and go south towards Rt 6 or would continue west to towards Princeton on I-80 and was wanted for unlawful delivery of a controlled substance. Near Plank Road on I-80 Willis was observed throwing money out of his vehicle. All of the money was recovered.

A short time later a Bureau County Sheriff’s deputy spotted the suspect vehicle entering Princeton westbound on Rt 6 and began a second pursuit. Peru Police Chief Doug Bernabei advised Bureau County they should only pursue Willis at their discretion and that Willis was identified at which time a Bureau county Sheriffs commander ordered their officers to terminate the pursuit as the vehicle was heading into Wyanet on Rt 6.

A short time later the vehicle was found abandoned in Wyanet and Willis had fled on foot. Area deputies and police officers then set up a perimeter and called for drone assistance from Peru Fire Department and the Bureau County EMA.


At 3:57 pm Willis was found in a garage in Wyanet after a homeowner called authorities reporting his normally un locked garage was now locked. Officers then forcibly entered the garage and located Willis taking him into custody.

Willis will likely face several counts of unlawful delivery of cocaine to the undercover officer while in Peru on several occasions in recent months. He will also likely face aggravated fleeing and eluding charges among possibly other charges.

Chief Bernabei stated “while this was a very dangerous operation, being personally present I witnessed the restraint displayed by officers from Peru and all across the LaSalle and Bureau County areas. Split second decisions to not force a potentially armed encounter in a retail parking lot and then to terminate both chases and take other avenues to hopefully apprehend proved as excellent options.”

“Numerous police agencies were involved in this incident along with both IVRD-ValCom and Bureau County Emergency Communications Bue-Comm who all handled themselves in an excellent and professional manner.”

Pursuant to Supreme Court rules this is to advise that charged are merely allegations and defendants enjoy the presumption of innocence.

City of Peru Police Department

LaSalle County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Underwood


Brian Keith Underwood

December 09, 1978 – February 02, 2019

12/9/1978 – 2/2/2019

It is with deep sorrow and regret that we mourn the loss of our co-worker and friend Brian. On behalf of Sheriff Tom Templeton and the entire staff of LaSalle County Sheriff’s Office we would like to extend our sincerest condolences to Brian’s entire family, especially his wife , Ashley, and their two children during this time of great loss.

Brian was an 8 year member of the Sheriff’s Office starting in corrections in August of 2010 and transferring to patrol Deputy in June of 2014. We remember Brian as being very dedicated to his law enforcement profession and always striving to meet the highest expectations. Brian had a genuine desire to help people , which drove him to become a Deputy Sheriff. During his time with us, Brian made many great friends and touched many lives in a positive way. May God bless you, Brian, and welcome you into his kingdom. You will be missed by all. (Source LaSalle County Sheriff Facebook)


“He was sincere,” the sheriff told The Times, recalling the day Deputy Underwood interviewed for the job. “He didn’t come in and give us any kind of interview that would bring us to any other conclusion than he sincerely wanted the job.”



lasco patch

Final Call For 50-Paul 20 Deputy Underwood

RIP my friend, you will be missed but not forgotten!!!!!

Posted by Michael Callahan on Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Last Alarm For Retired Fire Chief Jerry Sears


Jerry D. Sears
1/11/1941- 12/9/2018

Chief Sears’s loss has hit the members of the Seneca fire department especially hard since he was a role model to many and even more importantly, our friend.  Chief Sears was a true cornerstone of the foundation of Seneca Fire Department as he truly lived and breathed for public service. The safety and well-being of the firefighters were amongst his biggest passions. Even after 45 years, his commitment to the fire service never faded. We will always remember him as a man of integrity, strength and courage. He will be remembered fondly by all of us. Rest in peace, Chief Sears. We’ll take it from here. ( Source: Seneca FD Facebook)

Chief Sears Severed 44 years with the Seneca IL, Fire Department




The Last Alarm Audio For Seneca Fire Department’s Retired Fire Chief Jerry Sears


Photo Credit Source:





With recent nation-wide tragic events while passing school buses with their stop arms extended we thought it would be a good time to have a review.  According to the National Safety Council, 70% of school bus-related deaths occur outside the bus.

  Illinois law provides that the driving privileges of a person convicted of passing a stopped school bus will be suspended for three months for the first offense and one year for the second, if the second conviction occurs within five years. Additionally, the fine for a first conviction is $150 and $500 for a second or subsequent conviction.  Speed limit in school zones when students are present is 20 mph. Drivers arrested for speeding in a school zone must appear in court and face a minimum fine of $150.  Below is the Illinois compiled statue

625 ILCS 5/11-1414: Approaching, overtaking, and passing school bus.

(a) The driver of a vehicle shall stop such vehicle before meeting or overtaking, from either direction, any school bus stopped on a highway, roadway, private road, parking lot, school property, or at any other location, including, without limitation, a location that is not a highway or roadway for the purpose of receiving or discharging pupils. Such stop is required before reaching the school bus when there is in operation on the school bus the visual signals as specified in Sections 12-803 and 12-805 of this Code. The driver of the vehicle shall not proceed until the school bus resumes motion or the driver of the vehicle is signaled by the school bus driver to proceed or the visual signals are no longer actuated. 
(b) The stop signal arm required by Section 12-803 of this Code shall be extended after the school bus has come to a complete stop for the purpose of loading or discharging pupils and shall be closed before the school bus is placed in motion again. The stop signal arm shall not be extended at any other time. 
(c) The alternately flashing red signal lamps of an 8-lamp flashing signal system required by Section 12-805 of this Code shall be actuated after the school bus has come to a complete stop for the purpose of loading or discharging pupils and shall be turned off before the school bus is placed in motion again. The red signal lamps shall not be actuated at any other time except as provided in paragraph (d) of this Section. 
(d) The alternately flashing amber signal lamps of an 8-lamp flashing signal system required by Section 12-805 of this Code shall be actuated continuously during not less than the last 100 feet traveled by the school bus before stopping for the purpose of loading or discharging pupils within an urban area and during not less than the last 200 feet traveled by the school bus outside an urban area. The amber signal lamps shall remain actuated until the school bus is stopped. The amber signal lamps shall not be actuated at any other time. 
(d-5) The alternately flashing head lamps permitted by Section 12-805 of this Code may be operated while the alternately flashing red or amber signal lamps required by that Section are actuated. 
(e) The driver of a vehicle upon a highway having 4 or more lanes which permits at least 2 lanes of traffic to travel in opposite directions need not stop such vehicle upon meeting a school bus which is stopped in the opposing roadway; and need not stop such vehicle when driving upon a controlled access highway when passing a school bus traveling in either direction that is stopped in a loading zone adjacent to the surfaced or improved part of the controlled access highway where pedestrians are not permitted to cross. 
(f) Beginning with the effective date of this amendatory Act of 1985, the Secretary of State shall suspend for a period of 3 months the driving privileges of any person convicted of a violation of subsection (a) of this Section or a similar provision of a local ordinance; the Secretary shall suspend for a period of one year the driving privileges of any person convicted of a second or subsequent violation of subsection (a) of this Section or a similar provision of a local ordinance if the second or subsequent violation occurs within 5 years of a prior conviction for the same offense. In addition to the suspensions authorized by this Section, any person convicted of violating this Section or a similar provision of a local ordinance shall be subject to a mandatory fine of $150 or, upon a second or subsequent violation, $500. The Secretary may also grant, for the duration of any suspension issued under this subsection, a restricted driving permit granting the privilege of driving a motor vehicle between the driver’s residence and place of employment or within other proper limits that the Secretary of State shall find necessary to avoid any undue hardship. A restricted driving permit issued hereunder shall be subject to cancellation, revocation and suspension by the Secretary of State in like manner and for like cause as a driver’s license may be cancelled, revoked or suspended; except that a conviction upon one or more offenses against laws or ordinances regulating the movement of traffic shall be deemed sufficient cause for the revocation, suspension or cancellation of the restricted driving permit. The Secretary of State may, as a condition to the issuance of a restricted driving permit, require the applicant to participate in a designated driver remedial or rehabilitative program. Any conviction for a violation of this subsection shall be included as an offense for the purposes of determining suspension action under any other provision of this Code, provided however, that the penalties provided under this subsection shall be imposed unless those penalties imposed under other applicable provisions are greater. 
The owner of any vehicle alleged to have violated paragraph (a) of this Section shall, upon appropriate demand by the State’s Attorney or other designated person acting in response to a signed complaint, provide a written statement or deposition identifying the operator of the vehicle if such operator was not the owner at the time of the alleged violation. Failure to supply such information shall result in the suspension of the vehicle registration of the vehicle for a period of 3 months. In the event the owner has assigned control for the use of the vehicle to another, the person to whom control was assigned shall comply with the provisions of this paragraph and be subject to the same penalties as herein provided. 
(Source: P.A. 99-740, eff. 1-1-17.)

NHTSA is urging you to drive safely, and remember these rules about school bus safety:
Tips for Motorists:

  • Be alert and slow down when driving in neighborhoods with school zones.
  • Watch for children walking, playing or assembling near bus stops. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
  • Obey the school bus laws in your State, as well as the “flashing signal light system” used for school buses. Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles. Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate the bus has stopped and children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.

Tips for caregivers and students:

  • Arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. Stand at least three giant steps (six feet) away from the curb. The bus stop is not a place to run or play.
  • When the school bus arrives, wait until the bus comes to a complete stop, the door opens, and the driver says it’s okay before approaching the bus door. Use the handrails to avoid falling.
  • Never walk behind a school bus. Walk on a sidewalk or along the side of the street. Cross the street in front of the bus with at least five giant steps (10 feet) between the front of the bus and you. Make eye contact with the bus driver before crossing to make sure the driver can see you.
  • If you drop something near the school bus, like a ball or book, tell the bus driver right away. Do not try to pick up the item, because the driver might not be able to see you.






    Leave sooner, drive slower!



Peru Jason Brokaw

With great sadness and with a very heavy heart it is my sad duty to announce the death of Sergeant Jason Brokaw (PPD-Retired 2016.)

Sergeant Brokaw passed away earlier today following a courageous battle with a medical condition that came upon him while an active member of the Peru Police Department.

Jason Brokaw was a great police officer. He started his career at the Granville Police Department, and then moved to the Bureau County Sheriff’s office, then to the Spring Valley Police Department before joining PPD in 2008. He was then promoted to a leadership position as a patrol sergeant with our department.

All through his career, Jason performed his duties admirably. His common sense approach and his genuine respect for others served him, his community and all of us very well.

While Jason was a great police officer in his professional life, he also lived a private but a very steady personal life. His family, his friends and those closest to him can celebrate being part of Jason’s life. All of them and all of us are no doubt better people because of his influence on our own lives.

It is not possible to share the genuine sadness that is present among the officers and telecommunicators, both past and present who worked with Jason. We lost someone who left an indelible mark on all of us. The loss hurts very much. When you see one of Jason’s coworkers please tell them you know what he meant to us and remind us that while we will never forget him we all will remember how lucky we are that he was one of us!.

Godspeed Sergeant Jason Brokaw!

We will take it from here!

Chief Doug Bernabei on behalf of everyone at the Peru Police Department

Source: Peru, Illinois Police Department Facebook Page

peru-police-department p 9