LA SALLE, Ill. - Chauffeur Don Madson got more than he bargained for when he picked up a passenger for a trip to O'Hare last month. Madson, a retired policeman who drives for Act II Transportation in Coal Valley, Ill., was called in early for a last-minute trip when John C. Pope requested a ride to the airport. Pope asked to be picked up at the local Holiday Inn. With the particular type of trip, Carole Steele, president of Act II, suggested that Pope take the airport shuttle. However, Pope insisted on limousine transportation.
When Madson arrived at the Holiday Inn to pick up Pope, he was told to come back a little later. While waiting on his client, Madson ran into a former coworker Moline police officer Bruce Kauzlarich and two other officers. "I told them about my passenger that I was taking to Chicago, and how it was strange he insisted on a limousine ride instead of a shuttle," Madson said.
Madson returned later to pick up Pope, who paid him $355 in cash, and headed toward the airport. Meanwhile, Officer Kauzlarich was responding to a bank robbery call and looking for clues. Officer Kauzlarich remembered Madson's story about the passenger that he was driving to the airport. Madson's description of his passenger matched the one given by witnesses at the bank. Police called Act II Transportation in order to obtain Madson's cell number. After a brief phone conversation with a detective, Madson knew something was up, but wasn't told exactly what.
He informed the detective that he was going to pull over at a truck stop, explaining to Pope that this was something all company limousine drivers do on trips to Chicago. Pope elected not to leave the limousine. It was then that Madson realized he had a suspect in his vehicle. He slowly got back into the car, taking his time and trying to stall. As he started to exit the parking lot, an unmarked squad car pulled in front of him with lights flashing. The alleged robber told Madson he had a gun, and to pull around the police car. Madson then turned around and calmly said, "You'd better do what they say."
Pope gave himself up to Illinois State Police troopers without a fight. "I can't believe this guy's luck," Madson said. "He could have opted for a shuttle, but he opted for a limo."