After stopping at a fast food joint for a last meal, Rod Blagojevich entered a federal prison in Colorado on Thursday afternoon to start serving his 14-year sentence for corruption.
The former Illinois governor drove around in circles in a black SUV, passing the prison twice, before stopping at Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers for a last meal.”He ordered a double patty melt, fries and a soda but didn’t finish the meal,” Josh Andreakos, the general manager, said, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Just before noon local time, Blagojevich and his lawyers got back on Kipling Parkway and arrived at Englewood, a low-security facility in Littleton, Colo., located 15 miles southwest of Denver. The former governor circled the lot for a parking spot and finally emerged, giving a wave to the cameras.
Then Blagojevich walked through the prison doors. He can expect a cavity search and to have everything taken from him but his wedding ring once he’s processed.
Earlier Thursday morning, Blagojevich stepped out of his house in the darkness of dawn to dozens of reporters and camera crews as he departed for prison just after 6 a.m. in Chicago, and he told the crowd that he’s “leaving with a heavy heart, a clear conscience.”
Blagojevich lingered for just a few minutes at O’Hare International Airport to talk to reporters.
“Saying goodbye’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I’m leaving with a heavy heart, a clear conscience … I have high, high hopes for the future,” he said.
He also noted that the people of Ravenswood Manor can finally “get their neighborhood back. I’ll see you guys when I see ya,” he said, before stepping into a dark sedan.
As the car finally pulled away and began making its way to the airport, at least one local Chicago TV station had a chopper tracking the vehicle. Within the hour, Blagojevich had arrived at O’Hare and could be seen smiling and taking pictures with fellow travelers and signing autographs to some that approached him with a paper and pen.