Police chase spans county

FORTVILLE — A Fort- ville man was arrested early Monday after leading police on a high-speed chase overnight that stretched through Hancock County, crisscrossed through Pendleton and ended on Interstate 69 in Madison County.

Officers of at least five police departments followed Stephen Crouse, 33, for more than 30 minutes in the pursuit, which spanned more than 20 miles and reached speeds of 85 mph, investigators said.

Crouse was jailed Monday morning and faces charges of fleeing police, resisting arrest, reckless driving and operating while intoxicated, along with multiple traffic violations, police said.

The chase started when Fortville Police Officer Derek Archer saw Crouse sitting in his Chevy Impala in the parking lot of Fortville Elementary School, police said. Archer approached Crouse’s vehicle to make sure the man was OK, but Crouse took off, police said.

The chase headed south on County Road 200W, then east on County Road 600N and north to State Road 234. Crouse led officers east on State Road 234 and then north on State Road 9 into Pendleton, where officers used stop-sticks to puncture holes in the tires of Crouse’s car, police said.

The chase weaved through the town before heading west toward I-69. Crouse merged onto the highway and drove southbound for about four miles before his tires gave out around mile marker 214, Fortville Lt. Patrick Bratton said.

Once his car stopped on the interstate, Crouse got out of the vehicle and ran from police, police said. He was tackled by an Indiana State Police K9 officer, and he was bitten by the dog, Bratton said.

Crouse was arrested and taken to Hancock Regional Hospital where he was treated for minor injuries, Bratton said.

Police found an open bottle of alcohol in Crouse’s vehicle, Bratton said. There was also a warrant out for the man’s arrest for failure to return to Marion County Community Corrections, where he was serving time for a burglary conviction, Bratton said.

Fortville officials spent Monday morning reviewing footage from the dash camera in Archer’s patrol car, Bratton said. They’d determined Archer followed department protocols during the pursuit, he said.

Crouse remained in the Hancock County Jail at press time on no bond as the Hancock County Prosecutor’s Office determined formal charges.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.