Rescue squad leader charged with illegally stopping woman

BY BRIAN BRUEGGEMANN
News-Democrat

The chief of the volunteer Metro East Search & Rescue squad is facing charges that he pulled over a female motorist with his on-duty car, pulled out his gun and detained her in East Alton.

Madison County prosecutors on Friday charged Ted Lohr of Brighton, who also works as a private investigator for a St. Clair County detective agency, with aggravated unlawful restraint.

Lohr, 38, is accused of pulling over Carla C. Rice on April 16.

"He's in his vehicle, of the search and rescue unit, and he pulls this lady over, using his lights and siren," East Alton Police Maj. Darren Carlton said. "Then he detains her at gunpoint."

Another private detective in the car with Lohr called police while Lohr was following the woman. The detective with Lohr told a dispatcher the woman was driving recklessly.

"So I guess he decides that he's going to take matters into his own hands," Carlton said.

East Alton Police arrived after Lohr already had stopped the woman and detained her, police said. Lohr was wearing a gun and a badge on his belt.

Lohr's car, a white Chevrolet Caprice, has police-type lights on the front and rear dashes. The side of Lohr's car has the Metro East Search and Rescue emblem, which features a police-like star.

"If you looked at it real quick, you'd think it was a sheriff's car," Carlton said.

East Alton Police conducted field sobriety tests on the woman, and she passed. No citations were issued to her.

"She says she wasn't driving that bad," Carlton said.

Lohr had not yet been arrested late Friday afternoon. Attempts to contact him for comment were not successful.

Madison County Associate Judge James Hackett set Lohr's bail at $25,000. The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Metro-East Search and Rescue is a volunteer group that assists area police departments and other agencies in emergencies, searches for missing persons and rescue efforts.