A 25-year-old Mt. Pleasant man is accused of kidnapping a seven-day-old baby and four-year-old child from their Mt. Pleasant home, then leading authorities on a nearly 100-mile, high-speed chase through southeast Iowa and into Illinois. Authorities say Benjamin Walljasper took the children from a home in Mt. Pleasant shortly before one p-m Monday. Lee County Sheriff’s deputies pursued Walljasper to Ft. Madision and across the bridge to Niota, Illinois. Stop strips in Hamilton, Illinois failed to halt the fleeing vehicle. The chase continued south toward Elvaston where Walljasper avoided a semi and more stop strips. He then headed towards Denver, Illinois where the a Sheriff tried to pass Walljasper to slow him down. Walljasper swerved his vehicle into the Sheriff’s pickup and continued east to Golden, Illinois where Walljasper tried to escape on foot after authorities surrounded his vehicle. He was captured by Ft. Madison Police and faces charges in Illinois of fleeing and eluding police, leaving the scene of an accident, reckless driving, aggravated battery and child endangerment as well as child abduction charges in Iowa. The children were unharmed and returned to their mother.
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