Man escapes into river

Michael D. Smith, of Kankakee, wades in the Kankakee River after being chased by Kankakee police on Friday, Sept. 3.

KANKAKEE — A man who held Kankakee police at bay by standing in the Kankakee River last week had his bond set at $5,000 on Tuesday by a Kankakee County circuit judge.

Smith was wanted on a warrant for failing to appear for a Aug. 20 court dealing with a misdemeanor battery case from 2018.

According to Kankakee police, at approximately 2:28 p.m. Friday, officers were dispatched to a business in the 200 block of West River Street for a subject with a valid Kankakee County warrant.

Officers say they were able to identify Smith as the subject. They saw Smith attempting to hide in the bushes near the Washington Avenue Bridge, the report said.

Officers surrounded the area and they attempted to detain Smith. He resisted, broke free and officers deployed pepper spray, according to the report.

Smith then jumped into the river where he floated down to the area near South Fourth Avenue and West River Street. He refused to come out of the water, but later walked ashore and was arrested, according to police. 

He was taken to a local hospital where he was treated for the pepper spray, police said.

Jeff Bonty is a reporter for The Daily Journal. He can be reached at and 815-937-3366.


Jeff Bonty has worked for The Daily Journal since September 1986, starting in the sports department before moving to news reporting in 2002. He's a native of Indiana and graduate of Purdue University. His email is