Great Lakes naval base lockdown triggered by unauthorized vehicle entry
The Great Lakes Naval Station near North Chicago was locked down for roughly five hours Friday morning after a civilian employee of the base failed to follow a gate sentry's directions when entering the facility.
The unidentified man passed through the gates in a black Toyota Camry just after 7 a.m., according to Capt. Ray Leung, Great Lakes' commanding officer.
Per protocol in such instances, the base was immediately placed on lockdown and alerts were sent to personnel on the base to take shelter.
A spokesman reported the driver had been found and the car located about 9:30 a.m.
"Navy law enforcement officials are conducting an investigation of the incident," Leung said.
"We can confirm the individual is an employee on the base with authorized access; however, the cause of the unauthorized entry is still undetermined."
Security forces blocked off the area around the vehicle and performed a sweep of the vehicle and surrounding buildings, which took several hours to complete.
Several buildings required evacuation. Nothing unusual was found during the sweep, officials said.
The base was reopened fully about noon, according to a base spokesman.
No one was harmed, and the vehicle did not cause any damage.
Early reports that the vehicle had "crashed" through the gates was incorrect, Leung said.
"I would like to emphasize, anyone who enters any Navy installation without heeding Naval Security Forces instructions or following our posted Naval regulations poses a potential security threat, until deemed otherwise," Leung said. "
Our security personnel are vigilant, well-trained and ready to respond to changing and dynamic threats at all times."
A graduation ceremony planned for that morning was also delayed because of the lockdown.
Base officials reported a vehicle that had been driven to the base for the graduation caught fire during the lockdown but was extinguished.
The fire was unrelated to the gate runner, officials said.