Police say he ran — and he swam — but a 19-year-old man wanted for sexual assault could only stay on the lam for about a half-hour before the combined efforts of multiple law enforcement agencies brought him into custody.
Jeremiah Jones, who police said had lived in Indiana and California, but was wanted in Bond County, was walking his dog near Gretchen Wilson Park on April 27 when he was stopped by Pocahontas Police Chief Gino Feazel.
“We were looking for this kid the day before this incident,” Chief Feazel said. “I was notified by the Bond County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday (April 26) and started knocking on doors and checking abandoned buildings looking for him.”
According to charges filed on April 29, Jones allegedly committed criminal sexual assault by use of force against a woman on Monday, April 25 in Bond County. Jones had a prior known address on Richview Lane in Greenville and was thought to be staying with friends in the area. Word was put out to local law enforcement to be on the lookout for him.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
As Feazel was patrolling that Wednesday, he saw a man that fit the description given to police walking on Kavanaugh Street with a pit bull.
“(I) saw him near the park. I pulled up and questioned the guy,” Feazel said.
At first, Jones said his name was “Bear,” Feazel said, but soon provided his full name. The chief knew it was the man he was looking for.
Feazel said, once Jones realized he was about to be arrested, he took off. A 30-minute foot chase ensued.
Feazel gave the following account of the pursuit: Jones bolted toward the lake in Gretchen Wilson Park, with the dog at his side, and dove into it, swimming 75 yards through a cove. After that, he got out of the water and headed south.
While Jones was swimming, Feazel got back in his patrol car and drove to where Jones emerged from the lake, notifying the Bond County Sheriff’s Office that he needed assistance.
From there, Jones ran across a set of train tracks, up a dirt mound and into a heavily timbered area, all while being pursued by the chief.
“I would have caught this guy sooner, if he didn’t have the dog with him, but I didn’t want to be attacked by the dog if I tried to make an arrest,” Feazel said.
As Jones emerged from the timber area, he ran down Pokey Road, where he was arrested by Bond County deputies.
“This was a team effort from the Pocahontas Police Department, the U.S Marshals, and the Bond County Sheriff’s Department,” Feazel said. “I couldn’t have caught this guy without Bond County. We weren’t going to let him get away.”
The criminal sexual assault charge in Bond County is a Class 1 felony, punishable by four to 15 years in prison, if convicted. Jones is being held in the Bond County Jail.