CHICAGO (CBS) – It was no secret former Gov. George Ryan would be leaving the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., on Wednesday to head to a Chicago halfway house, but he still managed to slip past dozens of reporters and photographers staked outside the prison.
CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports the former governor had been gone for hours, and was already in Chicago, before anyone knew he’d left the prison.
A lone car speed away from the prison camp in Terre Haute around 1 a.m. Wednesday, leaving in the cover of darkness and rain.
In hindsight, that car might have been carrying Ryan to Illinois.
Freelance photographer Jason Niebrugge captured video of the car leaving the prison from a side entrance, from a spot he’d been staking out for hours.
“I showed up, and it was just a media circus,” he said.
He said, in the dark and rain, it was extremely unlikely anyone would have been able to seen Ryan inside a moving car.
“If you had your headlights on, you might be lucky to catch him,” he said.
Down the road a mile, dozens of reporters and photographers spent the night on the side of the road across from the main prison entrance, waiting to spot the governor.
Federal authorities, though, would not let anybody stand on the street or even park on the street in front of the prison.
“Hours went by before we figured it out,” Niebrugge said.
As Ryan’s attorney, former Gov. Jim Thompson alluded to after Ryan left the prison, moving from prison to home confinement will be a huge transition for Ryan, but he is not allowed to talk to reporters until he is officially released from federal custody when his sentence ends in July.
Not surprising, then, that he chose to leave in the middle of the night.