SOUTH BEND — A fleeing driver in St. Joseph County refused to stop for an Indiana State Trooper and ultimately caused a vehicle accident, killing one.
Around 7:24 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 7, an Indiana State Trooper saw a white Jeep Cherokee traveling east on the US 20 Bypass at 99 mph near the Elkhart and St. Joseph county line. The trooper caught up to the jeep and activated the lights and siren on his marked Indiana State Police car, but the Jeep failed to stop. As the Jeep exited at SR 19, officers discovered the Jeep was stolen. The Jeep traveled north into Elkhart and several officers with the Elkhart City Police Department assisted. The Jeep led officers through southern and western Elkhart before heading westbound on Old US 20.
According to a press release from the Indiana State Police, the Jeep continued west into St. Joseph County on McKinley Avenue, disregarding several stoplights. As the officers stopped at Home Street to let traffic clear the intersection, the Jeep continued west, disregarded the stoplight at Fir Road and struck a green Toyota Camry, which was traveling south on Fir Road. The accident happened at approximately 7:39 p.m.
The Jeep struck the Toyota in the driver side door, killing the driver. The lone passenger in the Toyota was taken to Memorial Hospital in South Bend with serious injuries. The driver of the Jeep, described as a black male wearing a dark jacket or sweatshirt and grey sweatpants, fled on foot. Three passengers in the Jeep were taken to Memorial Hospital with minor injuries. A fourth passenger in the Jeep was detained and questioned.
Two ISP K9 units attempted to track the driver of the stolen Jeep but were unable to locate him. Anyone with information on the identity of the driver of the Jeep is asked to call the Indiana State Police at (574) 546-4900.
The St. Joseph County Fact Team is conducting the crash reconstruction and will release the identity of the injured and deceased at a later time.