Standoff at Arlington Heights accident scene ends peacefully

What police describe as a mental health crisis led to a standoff with a 20-year-old Milwaukee man following a minor traffic accident Friday on Palatine Road in Arlington Heights, police said in a new release.

The standoff, which began about 8:30 p.m., disrupted traffic for more than two hours, but ended peacefully with no charges filed.

Police said a passenger was taken from the single vehicle involved in the crash in the express lanes of westbound Palatine Road west of Windsor Avenue and was being assessed by paramedics in an ambulance.

Other paramedics were evaluating the driver, who was still in the car, when he suddenly cut himself, police said. Traffic was rerouted while more police responded.

Police said officers initiated dialogue with the driver and eventually the man threw his weapon out, only to then display another knife.

After about 90 minutes, police said, they were able to convince the driver to exit his car. Paramedics treated his wound and transported him to a hospital. Palatine Road reopened about 10:45 p.m.

The accident was in front of Lakewood Chapel, where Pastor John Elleson was meeting with a youth group. He watched and listened to the entire ordeal, offering to help when he realized how dire the situation was becoming, but was told to stay inside. "We started praying," he said.

Eventually, he did go out.

"I yelled over, 'Tell him I want to pray with him. Tell him I'm the pastor on the sign there and I'd like to pray with him. I have a son just like him. Tell him I want to pray.' And they said 'No, go back.' Finally an officer ran over and told me to get in the church and made me get in and I stopped. Two seconds later he came back and said the guy came out of the car."

Elleson was relieved.

"There's a lot of things right now, alcoholism, drugs, domestic. We see that. A lot of suicide. We have that going on at the church during this pandemic. All it takes is something to set this off. It goes on every day but since it was right in front of the church my heart was a little touched."

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