INDIANAPOLIS — Officials with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department and other county departments were involved in a high-speed traffic chase that was called off by the Indiana State Police just minutes before three people died in a crash on the far east side of Indianapolis.
According to the Indiana State Police (ISP), they are investigating a crash with multiple fatalities near 10th Street and Mitthoeffer Road just west of Hancock County. The crash happened minutes after troopers terminated a vehicle pursuit involving the driver who caused the crash.
Officials say at approximately 9:37 p.m. Tuesday night, an Indiana State Trooper attempted to pull over a Dodge Challenger for reckless driving near East Washington Street and Mitthoeffer Road, just outside of Hancock County. The driver refused to stop and a pursuit continued for approximately 12 minutes, routing on several city streets while heading east out of Indianapolis and into rural areas of Hancock County.
Several officers from ISP and other agencies were trying to get into position to deploy stop sticks, however they were unable to get into position. At 9:50 p.m., the troopers made the decision to terminate the pursuit based on several factors, officials said in a release. Those factors included the aggressive and reckless driving by the suspect, where some reports indicated speeds well over 100 mph. Plus, the suspect had turned around and was leaving a rural, low-populated area, and was driving back toward Indianapolis.
Upon termination of the pursuit, all involved officers deactivated their emergency lights and sirens and disengaged, leaving the area in the opposite direction of the suspect vehicle. Then at 9:55 p.m., ISP dispatchers overheard a radio transmission from the Indianapolis Fire Department about a serious crash near Mithoeffer Road and 10th Street.
Due to the recent pursuit in the area, troopers responded to the crash. Upon arrival, the first trooper gave information about three critically injured, unresponsive people. He found two heavily damaged vehicles, one of which appeared to be the Dodge Challenger from the earlier pursuit. Emergency personnel arrived on scene and transported one critically injured adult female to an area hospital. She was later pronounced deceased at the hospital.
Three other people were found inside the Dodge Challenger, all heavily entrapped in the wreckage. Two of the three inside were unresponsive to verbal communication. The Indianapolis Fire Department worked hastily, officials said, to extricate the entrapped occupants. Two of the three people inside the Dodge Challenger were transported by ambulance and were later pronounced deceased at the hospital. The driver of the Dodge Challenger suffered only minor injuries.
Indiana State Police crash reconstructionists, along with detectives, responded to the scene to conduct the investigation. Preliminary investigation determined the driver of the Dodge Challenger failed to stop at a red light at the intersection of 10th Street and Mitthoeffer Road and was traveling at an extremely high speed. The Dodge Challenger struck another vehicle in the intersection. The driver of that vehicle was the female who died at the hospital. There were no other occupants inside the second vehicle.
Probable cause was established to arrest the driver of the Dodge Challenger. His identity is being withheld until proper notification is made to the families of the deceased. The driver now faces the preliminary charge of resisting law enforcement causing death, a Level 2 felony.
Local law enforcement, which included the Cumberland Police Department, Greenfield Police Department and the New Palestine Police Department, terminated their part of the chase around 9:51 p.m. with remarks indicating the vehicle was last seen heading westbound toward 10th street and German Church Road.
The crash is reported to have occurred about four minutes later.