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updated: 9/8/2017 9:30 AM

Wauconda police chase white bronco on Route 12

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  • Video: Wauconda horse chase

  • Video: Second Wauconda video

  • See dashcam footage from a Wauconda police car in pursuit of a horse that broke free and ran through the village Tuesday.

    See dashcam footage from a Wauconda police car in pursuit of a horse that broke free and ran through the village Tuesday.


There were no news copters hovering overhead or crowds cheering on the fugitive from the side of the road, but Wauconda police had their own version of a slow-speed bronco chase this week.

The white bronco in this instance was a horse that escaped its stable north of the village Tuesday morning and trotted its way into town and eventually onto a pair of heavily traveled state highways in the middle of rush hour.

"Of course, the horse goes out on Route 176 and then takes the ramp to Route 12," Wauconda Police Chief David Wermes told us Thursday.

Police officers alerted to the loose horse located it and followed slowly behind as it loped its way through town. The department released two videos of dashcam footage of the pursuit on its Facebook page.

"We were worried that, because it was rush hour, it was going to get hurt or cause an accident and someone would get hurt," Wermes said. "Especially the way people fly down 12."

In all, the pursuit lasted about 15 minutes and covered several miles, Wermes said.

Nick Willis, left, and Alex Keelan helped Wauconda police safely wrangle a horse that escaped its stable Tuesday and trotted through the village during the morning rush hour.
Nick Willis, left, and Alex Keelan helped Wauconda police safely wrangle a horse that escaped its stable Tuesday and trotted through the village during the morning rush hour. - Courtesy of Wauconda Police Department

Fortunately, among the drivers forced to pull over to make way for the horse was Alix Keelan, a veterinary technician on her way to work in Grayslake. Keelan, with help from fellow good Samaritan Nick Willis, was able to use her sweatshirt as a makeshift lasso to corral the horse off the road and lead it to safety at the nearby Trees R Us facility.

They stayed there until its owner arrived and took the horse home, Wermes said. The department was sure to credit Keelan and Willis for their part in bringing this horse tale to a happy ending.

"Thank you to Nick Willis and Alix Keelan for their assistance wrangling the horse," police wrote.

Not spoofing around

When we heard there were complaints of "spoofing" in Des Plaines recently, we thought someone had been poking fun at the community's notoriously contentious city council politics.

It turns out this kind of spoofing is no laughing matter.

Spoofing occurs when a scam artist or some other miscreant hijacks another phone number, so that number appears on your caller ID when they phone you.

In the recent Des Plaines case, scammers "spoofed" the number of a local computer repair business, then made hundreds of calls to potential victims. Police reports say the spoofers represented themselves as Microsoft employees and told call recipients their computers needed repairs.

In some cases, according to police reports, those who received calls were even threatened. The repair business eventually had to shut down its phone number to bring the spoofing to a halt.

To protect yourself from falling victim to a spoofing scam, the FBI says people should always be suspicious of an unsolicited phone call, even when the caller ID makes it seem legit; never give money or personal information to someone you don't know and did not initiate contact with; and trust your instincts -- if an unknown caller makes you uncomfortable or says things that don't sound right, hang up.


James Blickle
James Blickle

Our best to the West Chicago Police Department, which is mourning the Aug. 29 death of former police officer James Blickle.

Blickle served more than 20 years on the city's police force before retiring in 2003. He was instrumental in bringing community-policing programs like National Night Out and Neighborhood Watch to West Chicago, according to a post on the department's Facebook page.

Before arriving in West Chicago, Blickle served as a deputy sheriff in downstate Macon County.

Spotting fake news

In an era of "fake news," it can be hard to tell what information is legit and what's bogus.

The American Bar Association is trying to help news consumers tell the difference, at least when it comes to matters of the law.

The ABA recently launched the website ABA Legal Fact Check. Its goal, according to the association, is to use case law, statutory law and other legal precedents to separate legal fact from fiction.

Among timely topics the site explores are whether "hate" speech is protected by the First Amendment, whether there are limits on the president's pardon authority, and whether universities can consider race when weighing applications.

Do you have doubts about a legal assertion made in the news? Email the Fact Check at and they might answer your question.

Help a needy vet

The Lake County sheriff's office has teamed with the county's Veteran's Assistance Commission, several other local law enforcement agencies and area high schools to collect coats and outerwear for the Lake County Law Enforcement Veteran's Coat Drive. The collection began Wednesday and continues through Nov. 8.

They're collecting gently used coats, gloves, hats, socks and scarves for veterans in need. Donations can be made at more than a dozen locations, including the sheriff's office and county government building in Waukegan and police departments in Gurnee, Hawthorn Woods, Libertyville, Mundelein and Round Lake Park.

• Got a tip? Send an email to or call (847) 427-4483.

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