Great Lakes naval base lockdown triggered by unauthorized vehicle entry

  • The Great Lakes Naval Station near North Chicago was on lockdown after the driver of a car passed a security checkpoint without authorization Friday.

      The Great Lakes Naval Station near North Chicago was on lockdown after the driver of a car passed a security checkpoint without authorization Friday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • The Great Lakes Naval Station went on lockdown Friday morning after a car drove past a security checkpoint without authorization.

      The Great Lakes Naval Station went on lockdown Friday morning after a car drove past a security checkpoint without authorization. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Cars are backed up outside the main gate of Great Lakes Naval Station near North Chicago during a Friday morning lockdown. The base was locked down after the driver of a car passed a security checkpoint without authorization.

      Cars are backed up outside the main gate of Great Lakes Naval Station near North Chicago during a Friday morning lockdown. The base was locked down after the driver of a car passed a security checkpoint without authorization. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Security officers direct traffic outside the Great Lakes Naval Station near North Chicago, which was on lockdown after a driver of a car passed a security checkpoint without authorization Friday.

      Security officers direct traffic outside the Great Lakes Naval Station near North Chicago, which was on lockdown after a driver of a car passed a security checkpoint without authorization Friday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • A Lake County sheriff's vehicle enters the Great Lakes Naval Station near North Chicago, which was on lockdown after a driver of a car passed a security checkpoint without authorization Friday.

      A Lake County sheriff's vehicle enters the Great Lakes Naval Station near North Chicago, which was on lockdown after a driver of a car passed a security checkpoint without authorization Friday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 1/24/2020 6:51 PM

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.

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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.

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