A Chicago man being pursued by police on suspicion of drunken driving drove through the Naval Base Great Lakes main gate, was shot at and was later arrested after he rammed two naval security vehicles that barricaded his path, officials said Friday.
Paul Sasso, 44, of the 4300 block of South Sawyer Avenue, was injured in the crash about 11 p.m. Thursday. He was cited for driving under the influence of alcohol by Highland Park Police and for fleeing and eluding by Lake Bluff police after he was captured, authorities said.
Naval officials said they are investigating whether federal charges could be filed against Sasso.
The chase began when Highland Park patrol officers tried to pull over Sasso after he was spotted driving erratically through town at 10:31 p.m., Deputy Chief George Pfutzenreuter said.
Sasso took off in his black Toyota Camry after officers activated their emergency lights, Pfutzenreuter said. They followed Sasso for a short time but called off the pursuit just as Sasso headed into Lake Bluff. The officer radioed to Lake Bluff authorities to stop the car.
Lake Bluff Deputy Police Chief Mike Hosking said officers spotted the northbound car on Route 41. They tried to pull over Sasso, but he showed no signs of slowing down to stop, Hosking said.
In the interest of safety, officers deactivated their lights, but they followed Sasso as he drove into the Great Lakes train station parking lot on Sheridan Road, Hosking said. Officers put down a "stop stick" in the train station lot to flatten the tires on the Camry.
"The train station on has one entrance and exit, so they put down the stop stick at the exit to try and disable the car," Hosking said. "He drove over the stick, but it only disabled one of the tires."
Officers re-engaged Sasso, who then sped through the naval base's main gate off Sheridan Road, Hosking said.
Great Lakes security pursued the car for a short time on the sprawling base, said John Sheppard, a public affairs officer at the naval base.
Guards fired four shots at the car to try to force it to stop, Sheppard said. The shots were fired in front of an abandoned building and were specifically aimed to disable the vehicle, he explained.
"All safety precautions were used to try and disable the vehicle," Sheppard said. "But he drove over a curb trying and get away."
Sheppard said two Navy Security Force vehicles were used as a blockade. Sasso rammed the security vehicles and was injured during the crash, Sheppard said.
He was treated at the scene by the Great Lakes Fire Department, then taken to Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital in police custody for evaluation.
There were no other injuries involved in the pursuit.
Sasso was issued citations by police at the hospital, authorities said, but he was freed on signature bonds in Lake Bluff and Highland Park.
His next court date was not available.