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Traffic Stop Leads to Ticket on the Greater Peoria Honor Flight

90-year-old Arlan Kohtz is a WWII and Korean Conflict Veteran

EAST PEORIA, Ill. - It's a special day for some war veterans from central Illinois aboard the Greater Peoria Honor Flight. The heroes will get a special day of sightseeing and honor in Washington D.C.

For one veteran from East Peoria, this day was made possible all because of a traffic stop.

"I was driving this one with the first ticket, this is the second ticket." 90-year-old, Arlan Kohtz, laughs as he points to his Chevy Suburban.

Kohtz was headed to donate an old bicycle a year-and-a-half ago when he saw flashing lights in his rearview mirror.

"I didn't do anything!" Arlan says of the traffic stop.

Kohtz caught the eye of Woodford County Sheriff's Deputy, Mike Ealey. Kohtz was exactly who Detective Ealey was looking for.

"I said have you ever been on an honor flight before? And he said 'No, but I want to.'" Ealey explains.

Turns out, the Woodford County Fraternal Order of Police was looking for a veteran to sponsor on an honor flight.

"To me, the Navy was just fun," Kohtz says. "I was 17 or 18 years old." 

Kohtz enlisted in the Navy during World War II serving as a fireman aboard the USS Tabora.

"Well I enjoyed the job, I was a big shot right then." Kohtz laughs.

After he was discharged he was drafted into the Army, this time during the Korean Conflict.

Kohtz, dually deserving of a trip on the honor flight.

"I was so glad when he says 'You'd like to go to that honor?' You bet I did!" Kohtz says.

Deputy Ealey didn't give Kohtz a ticket. The Woodford County Fraternal Order of Police donated $1,000 to the Greater Peoria Honor Flight, which paid for Kohtz's guardian, his son, Bob, and will help pay for another guardian's trip.

So although he still stands by the fact that he wasn't speeding, Kohtz is thankful that moment led to this one.

About 15 Woodford County Sheriff's Deputies plan to attend Tuesday night's homecoming ceremony at the Peoria International Airport. They also hope to sponsor more veterans in the future.

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