Metro-East News

Bethalto man abducted ex-girlfriend in van in Fairview Heights, police say

A Bethalto man abducted his ex-girlfriend in Fairview Heights on Saturday, according to Fairview Heights police.

A 35-year-old man met up with his 30-year-old ex-girlfriend at Huck’s Convenience Store in Fairview Heights at around 10 p.m. Saturday, police said in a press release. According to the release, the woman willingly got into her ex-boyfriend’s van to talk, but when an argument broke out between them, the man refused to let her out of the van and drove away.

The man drove about a half-mile to the nearby Walmart, where the woman jumped out of the van and screamed for help, police say. About 20 witnesses in the parking lot came to her aid, and when the man drove away in the van, several of them followed him in their cars westbound on I-64.

Shortly after witnesses notified police, a Caseyville police officer spotted the man’s van, stopped it, and arrested him, according to police.

As of Sunday afternoon, the man was in custody of Fairview Heights police investigators and an application for criminal charges was pending, police say.

“It is certainly reassuring to know that many citizens did not hesitate to come to the aid of a stranger in need,” Fairview Heights Chief Nick Gailius said in a statement. “The willingness of so many witnesses to come forward and to keep track of the suspect as he left the scene is what led to his quick capture. I cannot thank them all enough for their willingness to help.”

O’Fallon police and Illinois State Police also assisted Fairview Heights authorities.

The woman was unharmed, according to police.

Kaley Johnson: 618-239-2526, @KaleyJohnson6