Aretha Franklin‘s spokesman said the Queen of Soul was grateful and exclaimed “Hallelujah!” after the state of Illinois helped out when her tour bus broke down on the way to Chicago and left her stranded along a highway.
Transmission problems stopped the bus around 1:20 a.m. Monday (July 6) a few miles from downtown on eastbound Interstate 290. Franklin’s assistants started calling car services to transport her from the side of the road, but they had no luck.
“All were closed or had no vehicles because of the late hour and the holiday weekend,” Franklin spokesman Clarence Waldron said.
That’s when the Illinois State Police stepped in.
Three units from ISP, along with three from the Illinois Department of Transportation, drove Franklin and her entourage to their hotel. A towing company assigned to the stretch of highway moved the stalled tour bus.
Franklin’s reaction? Waldron said the singer said, “God was right on time,” and added a couple of hallelujahs to her chorus of praise for Illinois’ quick response.
No special treatment was involved, said State Police spokesman Matt Boerwinkle. Disabled vehicles can be dangerous, so handling breakdowns is a priority, he said.
The police agency handled more than 82,000 motorist assists last year “regularly changing tires, providing traffic control and transporting stranded motorists to nearby facilities to make alternate lodging and transportation arrangements,” Boerwinkle said.
“The queen certainly got some respect from Illinois. R-E-S-P-E-C-T,” Waldron said, quoting a lyric.
Franklin performs Saturday at the Ravinia music festival in Highland Park, a Chicago suburb.