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Hebron officer recalls high-speed chase that ended with shooting

HebrPolice Cpl. Christopher Davis led chase Friday apprehend Knox man fleeing from homicide scene Starke County. | Carrie Napoleon~for Sun-Times

Hebron Police Cpl. Christopher Davis led the chase Friday to apprehend a Knox man fleeing from a homicide scene in Starke County. | Carrie Napoleon~for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: July 9, 2014 6:34AM



HEBRON — Cpl. Christopher Davis had one thing on his mind Friday as he followed a murder and carjacking suspect in a high-speed chase through the region’s back roads and towns — ending the pursuit without anyone getting hurt.

Davis, a member of the Hebron Police Department, was the lead car as officers chased a Knox man suspected of killing a woman in his Starke County home. The man, who has not been identified by police, shot himself after loosing control of the vehicle, according to Indiana State Police. He was later reported to be in critical condition.

Davis and two other members of the Hebron Police Department followed the suspect for more than 15 minutes as speeds reached 80 mph.

Hebron Police began the pursuit after the man carjacked a pickup truck just a block from the Hebron Police Department after the stolen car he was driving broke down. Police said he stole the pickup from two men who stopped to help him with the disabled vehicle.

Davis said he was sitting in his squad car in the police department’s parking lot, meeting with two off-duty officers, Casey Robinson and Steve McGraw, when the call from dispatchers came in regarding the stolen truck.

“The call comes out and the guy drives right past me,” Davis said Saturday, adding that when he received the call and looked up, the suspect looked directly at him.

Davis said the driver turned north on Indiana 2 when he and the two off-duty officers began to follow him. Davis said he did not want to try to stop the truck until he was able to verify the vehicle was the one in the 911 call. When that verification came through, Davis said he turned on his lights, Robinson pulled up alongside him and they attempted to stop the 1988 GMC Sierra.

The driver sped away with Davis and the two other officers in pursuit through the back roads of Porter County. Other police agencies blocked intersections and tried to keep motorists out of the way.

Porter County Sheriff’s Police joined the chase, which circled back to Winfield. The Lake County Sheriff’s Department joined the chase in Winfield. Lake County also deployed its helicopter to keep tabs on the pursuit.

From Winfield, the driver headed west on 109th Avenue. Throughout the chase, Davis said he was receiving information over the radio about what the driver was suspected of doing. When the chase neared the Interstate 65 interchange, Davis said he knew he had to do something.

“At that point you realize, ‘I have to end this,’ ” Davis said.

A member of the Crown Point Police Department deployed “stop sticks” on 109th Avenue on the southbound exit from I-65.

“I was kind of glad they did, too,” Davis said.

Deploying stop sticks is a dangerous activity, with the officer tossing them out in front of the suspect’s vehicle just moments before it passes so the driver cannot avoid the spikes.

With two flat tires, the man drove the wrong way up southbound exit to Interstate 65 and attempted to do a U-turn to head south on the highway when he lost control of the vehicle.

“If he didn’t blow his tires, he very well could have gone southbound on I-65,” Davis said.

Davis was the first officer out of his squad car and was ordering the man to exit the pickup when he heard the gunshot and saw the man’s head drop back. The man was transported to Franciscan St. Anthony Health in Crown Point and was later airlifted to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois.

There was no report on the man’s condition by Saturday evening, nor did authorities release information about the homicide.

Davis said he was glad no one was injured during the daytime pursuit and credits all the police agencies involved for keeping the roads clear as the pursuit moved through the more heavily trafficked areas. He knows the results could have been much different, especially had the suspect been successful in his attempt to enter the interstate.

“You just try to make sure no one gets hurt,” Davis said.



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