FREEPORT, ILLINOIS — “He had a bat, a metal baseball bat perched all the way behind his head at which point he came and struck straight down. I flinched and he managed to hit me in the bridge of the nose rather than the top of my head.”
Those, are the words of a Freeport, Illinois pizza delivery driver.
You might be surprised to learn that being a delivery driver for any local, regional or nationwide restaurant can be a dangerous job. Deadly even.
Freeport resident Nathan Wood found that out himself recently while attempting to deliver a pizza to a home on Chicago Avenue. Four stitches in the hand and four in the nose later, Wood says he’s just lucky to be alive.
But his isn’t the only story. There are others:
“This happened to my delivery driver I had last week too. They took a bat to his side and robbed him.”
“my dad and my brother both delivered pizza back home in SC…both have been robbed at gun point, one of them more than once.”
“The pizza hut deliverer that I had last night was scared to get out of his car. He stayed in his car until I came to my apartment building door and assured him that the delivery was for me.”
Those are just a few of the local responses coming out as a result of Woods’ recent encounter with a baseball bat. Deputy Chief Matthew Summers told WIFR that this type of thing is becoming much more common in the Freeport area lately.
Wood says he was delivering a pizza to 1027 S Chicago in Freeport when the perpetrator brought a metal bat straight down onto the bridge of his nose, catching him by total surprise. He says if he hadn’t flinched at the moment it happened, he probably would have been hit on the top of his skull, possibly knocking him out completely by the blow.
“The assailant was only able to take one swing before he clearly realized his mistake”, Wood said. “But that one swing came from him running around the corner with his face covered, bat above and behind his head after inviting me in while he “got his money” to pay for an $18 pizza order”.
The incident happened Sunday evening.
In 2016 baseball bat-wielding assailants attacked a pizza delivery driver and stole his pizza in the 3100 block of Searles Avenue in Rockford, according to Rockford police.
In 2015 a sting was set up in response to robberies of pizza-delivery drivers in the area of Eastridge Drive and North Alpine Road in Rockford. An undercover police officer posing as a Domino’s Pizza driver arrested a 17-year-old as the teen tried to rob him.
In May 2019 a delivery driver attempting to deliver a pizza was robbed at gunpoint by 3-5 juveniles using BB guns.
“The authorities are working hard to find the person (5’6”-5’8”, African-American, male, short black hair, wide-open eyes, blue zip up hoodie and green paisley bandana”, Wood said Sunday on a Facebook post of the event that evening.
“I added this update to remind everyone not to stay paranoid, but to be aware that even someone who’s constantly expecting to get robbed may only barely get away with their life”, Wood said.
“We all need to take increased accountability into keeping clearly violent criminals out of the public. Nobody wants to be a snitch, but I’m two inches from being a corpse in someone’s basement and that shouldn’t be the shock that gets people to do the right thing.”
Freeport Police say they are investigating all of these violent delivery calls.
Wood is a driver for Maria’s Pizza.