Three flee after crashing U-Haul into tree during pursuit, Swansea police say

Three people fled from police early Monday morning after crashing a U-Haul truck into a tree in Centreville during a police chase.

An officer spotted the U-Haul truck in Swansea around 3 a.m., according to Swansea Police Deputy Chief Lt. Col. Craig Coughlin. It was stopped on Illinois 159 near Leisure Time Outdoors Store.

Coughlin said the back gate of the truck was open and the officer could see someone was inside the U-Haul.

The officer went to see why the U-Haul was stopped in front of the business and the vehicle fled, according to Coughlin. The driver of the truck ended up crashing it into a tree in an area near East St. Louis and Centreville.

There were three people inside the vehicle and they fled, police said.

Officers found a man near the crashed U-Haul and they spoke to him, but he was not taken into custody.

Coughlin confirmed police were not holding anyone in custody in connection to the crash as of Monday afternoon.

“Our investigation is very active,” he added.

Leisure Time Outdoors Store was not broken into and there was no vandalism, Coughlin said.

There were no items inside the mid-sized truck.

Officers are looking into the identity of the person who rented the truck.

A car collided with a Metro bus about 1:30 p.m. Monday at the intersection of Washington and South Illinois streets in downtown Belleville. Witnesses said the car's driver left the scene. The Belleville Police Department is investigating the crash

Carolyn P. Smith: 618-239-2503, @carolynhendri18