In pursuit of a parole

Grundy County Sheriff’s Office photo
A GMC DENALI pickup truck stolen from a Kankakee County residence struck a school bus head on during a vehicle pursuit early Monday morning. The truck was being driven by Zachary M. Palmer, 21, of Wilmington, who has been charged with three counts of possession of a stolen motor vehicle and felony theft.

Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office photo
ZACHARY M. PALMER, of Wilmington, is charged with three counts of possession of a stolen motor vehicle and felony theft. He was taken into custody Monday morning after leading a pursuit through Grundy, Will and Kankakee counties.

Wilmington man with history of stealing vehicles, takes three in 24 hours

On Monday morning, Grundy County Sheriff’s deputies were called to assist the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office and Illinois State Police in locating a stolen motor vehicle.
The vehicle was one of three 21-year-old Zachary M. Palmer, of Wilmington, is accused of stealing within a 24- hour period.
Kankakee County Sheriff Mike Downey reports his deputies received a call from OnStar in regards to a stolen motor vehicle being tracked off Illinois Route 113.
Kankakee deputies then located the stolen vehicle in front of a residence, and in turn, discovered another vehicle was missing from a nearby residence.
At the request of Kankakee County, Grundy deputies were dispatched to the 8500 block of Duck Pond Rd. in Coal City to search for a white GMC Denali pickup truck. The vehicle was located in the area of Whitetie Road and North Broadway, and deputies attempted to conduct a traffic stop but the driver refused.
Grundy deputies pursued the vehicle through the village of Diamond, city of Braidwood and into Custer Park where Palmer rammed into a Grundy County Sheriff’s squad car.
The pickup continued into Kankakee County where it struck a school bus head-on at Route 113 and Warner Bridge Road—there were no children on the bus at the time of the crash.
Palmer’s mother, Shannon L. Palmer, 38, was in the pickup truck with her son when the crash occurred. She was transported to a Kankakee area hospital for treatment.
According to Downey, other vehicles were damaged as a result of the pursuit for Zachary Palmer.
Palmer was released on parole June 2 from the Illinois Department of Corrections [IDOC] after serving time at Stateville Correctional Center for multiple motor vehicle thefts. Downey noted Palmer had only been in IDOC custody since April 21 after violating his parole status.
According to the IDOC’s on-line inmate search, Palmer was initially remanded into state custody on three charges—all stemming from vehicle theft in Grundy County. He was sentenced to three years in the IDOC in August 2018.
“It’s extremely unfortunate that the Illinois Department of Corrections, despite being contacted about a parolee who has obviously been wreaking havoc, was reluctant to violate his parole status until several local agencies were forced into making phone calls,” Downey and Grundy County Sheriff Ken Briley said in joint statement issued Monday evening.
“This particular individual has proven his intentions time and time again to blatantly disregard the laws and to show disregard for anyone else’s safety or personal property in violating our laws.”
Furthermore, the county sheriffs said, “We are all hoping the criminal justice system can now do its job and ultimately serve justice to all of the area residents and motorist that have become victim to Palmer’s lawless acts.”
Palmer was booked into the Jerome Combs Detention Center in Kankakee charged with three counts of possession of a stolen motor vehicle, felony theft and on warrants issued out of Iroquois County and IDOC.
Briley and Downey report additional charges are likely as Palmer is suspected of numerous motor vehicle thefts throughout Grundy, Will and Kankakee counties.
Downey commended his deputies and those from Grundy and Will counties, officers with the Braidwood Police Department and Illinois State Police, and members of the Tri-County Auto Theft Task Force for their efforts in stopping Palmer.
Briley reminds residents that criminals, such as Palmer, prey on crimes of opportunity.
“Of the numerous motor vehicle thefts that he is suspected in, all [vehicles] have been left unlocked with the keys readily available. We continue to urge the community to assist us by simply securing your vehicles and removing valuables from plain view,” Briley said.