WARSAW — More details have been released on a vehicle pursuit that began in Kosciusko County and ended west of Plymouth.
Merieal Maurice Tolbert, 28, Chicago, Ill., is charged with resisting law enforcement by using a vehicle and theft, both level 6 felonies; criminal recklessness, a class B misdemeanor; and reckless driving, a class C misdemeanor.
On Feb. 24, an Indiana State Trooper was stationary on US 30, just west of CR 200W in Kosciusko County. The trooper’s vehicle’s back and side emergency lights were activated from a previous traffic stop.
According to court documents, the trooper became startled by a vehicle that passed him at such a distance and traveling at such a high speed that the air disruption from the speeding vehicle shook the trooper’s vehicle. The trooper also noticed the vehicle’s driver made no attempt to slow down or move over for the trooper’s emergency vehicle as required by law. There were no vehicles obstructing the suspect vehicle, and the driver could have gotten into the passing lane of the highway but did not.
The trooper began pursuing the speeding vehicle. At one point, it appeared the driver was going to comply and pull over, but the vehicle pulled in front of the trooper’s vehicle while in the passing lane and proceeded west on US 30.
The driver increased their speed to about 90 miles per hour while in a 60 mph zone. The vehicle sped up and slowed down, proceeding through the US 30 and SR 19 intersection at about 80 mph. The driver also passed vehicles in a dangerous manner, almost striking a pickup truck.
The pursuit, which reached a peak speed of 120 mph, continued into Marshall County, where Marshall County law enforcement agencies deployed stop sticks on US 30 to disable the suspect vehicle. The pursuit ended when the suspect vehicle hit the stop sticks and drove into a ditch, where the vehicle rolled over.
The trooper identified the suspect vehicle’s driver as Tolbert. The vehicle Tolbert was driving was reported stolen in Allen County by a woman who had previously been in a relationship with Tolbert.
The woman said when their relationship ended, Tolbert took her vehicle without permission and left.
Tolbert admitted to taking the woman’s vehicle and said he took it with the intent to drive home to Chicago. He also admitted to fleeing from the state trooper because he thought the woman may have reported her vehicle was stolen.
Tolbert was booked in the Kosciusko County Jail on Feb. 24, with a $10,250 surety and cash bond.