KANKAKEE COUNTY, Ill. – A bus of migrants was dropped off at a Kankakee County gas station Thursday morning, and the driver of the bus erroneously told them they had arrived in Chicago.
At about 7:30 a.m., Kankakee police officers, members of the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office and Illinois State Police troopers responded to a situation at a gas station in the 3400 block of Route 45/52.
The call that law enforcement received said a busload of migrants, about 30–40 people, were dropped off in the gas station’s parking lot.
When officers arrived, they found multiple groups, some of whom started walking on the highway and expressway while wrapped in blankets.
After speaking with about 11 people, including seven adults and four children, who remained at the gas station, it was determined that the bus had initiated its journey in El Paso, Texas.
The individuals were then dropped off at the gas station around 4:30 a.m. and the bus driver erroneously told them that they had reached Chicago, which was their intended destination.
The passengers, who hailed from Venezuela, were left without money, food, adequate clothing and were under the impression they had made it to Chicago.
Law enforcement agencies arranged transportation for those remaining at the scene to Midway Airport, using the services of a local bus company.
Officers also provided rides out of the county to several occupants who had begun walking on the roadways.
Kankakee County Sheriff Mike Downey said there are ongoing efforts to identify those responsible for abandoning the individuals at the gas station.
Due to concerns about potential future incidents, the County of Kankakee filed an Emergency Declaration with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.