Police: Woman hid in IHOP after jumping from man's car

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Thomas Buhler, 59 Thomas Buhler, 59

DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) – A woman hid in an IHOP to escape a man who police say made threats against her life.

A sworn statement from officers says it started on the afternoon of Jan. 20, when she and Thomas Buhler, 59, began driving after an argument. As they argued, the statement says Buhler refused to take the woman to her Decatur house and demanded that he come with her to Dieterich. They were driving along Route 51 from Bloomington.

Police say Buhler began speeding at 90 miles per hour and ignoring red lights, adding that he showed “erratic” driving patterns. The woman asked to get out, but officers say Thomas threatened to crash his truck and kill both of them if she tried, then made the same threats when she tried to call 911.

When Buhler stopped at a Decatur intersection, the woman jumped out of the truck and ran to IHOP (1280 E. Pershing Road) and hid in the bathroom. Restaurant workers say she told them “he’s trying to kill me” before finding cover and alerting law enforcement. Police say Buhler followed her to the restaurant in his green 1993 Chevrolet and drove away when he couldn’t find her.

Officers say the woman was “short of breath” and appeared “scared” when they found her at IHOP. They arrested Buhler on Thursday.

 Buhler is facing charges for unlawful restraint and interference with reporting of domestic violence. His bond is set at $15,000 in Macon County.

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