Gary man dead after Merrillville chase ends with crash
By Michelle L. Quinn and Teresa Auch Schultz Post-Tribune March 26, 2014 11:09AM
The burnt out remains of a Mercedes Benz sits near an alley off of Georgia after slamming into a tree in Gary, IN on March 26, 2014. | Jim Karczewski\For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 28, 2014 10:24AM
GARY — The car a man was driving Wednesday morning in a chase with Merrillville Police was taken during an armed carjacking more than a month ago in Oklahoma, according to police.
Nicholas Moore, 26, of Gary, died after hitting at tree at 37th Avenue and Georgia Street in the city’s Glen Park section. A passenger is still at large, police said.
Merrillville Police Commander Bob Wiley said the chase started around 10:15 a.m. when an officer saw the 2006 black Mercedes speeding on West 56th Avenue near Connecticut Street.
The officer attempted to pull Moore over, but he instead ran a stop sign and turned north onto Broadway, weaving in and out of traffic. At some point in the chase, Wiley said, the Mercedes skidded, and police saw a front-seat passenger flee the car. The officer kept following the Mercedes.
The officer and three other squad cars gave chase until they lost sight of the car in the 4200 block of Georgia Street, which is when Wiley called off the chase, he said.
One of the officers was then flagged down three minutes later by a passerby saying a car had crashed into a tree at 37th and Georgia, Wiley said.
“We were not in pursuit of the vehicle at (the time it crashed),” he said.
When the officer got to the scene, Wiley said, the car was already on fire.
“I was talking to a friend when we heard this ‘boom!’ and we didn’t know what happened,” said a witness, who would identify himself only as “Big D.” “We saw that he’d hit the tree and parked, and then there were three police cars. Two of them turned (off on Ridge Road) and one went straight on Georgia.
“Then the car caught on fire, and I and an officer pulled him out of the car a little bit. It happened so fast.”
Moore was taken to Methodist Hospitals Northlake, where he died, Gary Police Chief Wade Ingram Sr. said.
Dennis Swiatkowski, who owns the house where the car stopped, said he also heard a loud crash and saw the car burst into flames. The siding on the back part of his house was damaged in the wreck.
“I saw the guy’s arms sticking out of the car,” Swiatkowski said.
The Gary Police and Indiana State Police Traffic Divisions assisted with the crash. Merrillville, Ingram said, left the scene before ISP arrived.
“They left without notifying our officers on the scene, and that they did is irresponsible,” Ingram said.
Wiley said officers were patrolling the northeast part of town Wednesday because two burglaries had been reported in the area Tuesday, along with other burglaries that had been reported to the Hobart Police Department.
Wiley said the Mercedes fit the description of a car seen at one of the Hobart burglaries. Wiley said a witness told police that two men loaded several TVs into the car.
Although there was some initial confusion as to which police agency was investigating the crash, Wiley said, it is now being handled by the Indiana State Police. Merrillville and Hobart will continue investigating the car’s and driver’s possible connection to the burglaries.