The former Illinois governor is beginning his 14-year sentence on corruption charges in a federal prison in Colorado. NBC's Brian Williams reports.
It wasn't immediately clear where Rod Blagojevich's car was headed when it passed up the entrance to the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Englewood more than once.
Blagojevich had gotten off a plane to Denver from Chicago, swarmed by more reporters, on his way to begin serving his 14-year sentence. He got into a black SUV outside the airport and traveled toward the prison.
Attorney Aaron Goldstein later confirmed they initially got lost on the way to the facility and then decided to get lunch.
After some searching they ended up at Freddy's steak burgers, a fast-food joint where Blagojevich would have his final meal as a free man. He posed for a few photos at the restaurant, and one woman said, "You're the guy from 'The Apprentice.'"
Just after 6 a.m., Blagojevich left his Ravenswood Manor home and his family. "Saying goodbye is the hardest thing I have ever had to do," he told reporters as he got into a car leaving for O'Hare.
"I'm leaving with a heavy heart, a clear conscience," he said. "I have high, high hopes for the future. Among the hopes is now you guys can go home and our neighbors can get their neighborhood back. I'll see you guys when I see ya."
Before he boarded an American Airlines flight, he continued to shake hands and sign autographs.
Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich aboard a plane heading to Colorado to serve his prison sentence.
As he exited the plane in Denver, he told NBCChicago's Phil Rogers it breaks his heart to think he let down the state of Illinois.
"I'm grateful beyond words for the support and giving me the chance to serve," he said.
More content from msnbc.com and NBC News
- Is 14 too young for life in prison? Supreme Court to weigh
- $10 million Degas is latest mystery in Huguette Clarke case
- Debate rages over Mexico 'spillover violence'
- Woman, 88, strangled to death by clothes in escalator
- Teen texts cops: 'I hid the body ... now what?'