Police Fire Shots At One Of Three Car Theft Suspects On Indiana Toll Road

CHESTERTON, Ind. (CBS) — Indiana State Police fired shots at a suspect late Wednesday afternoon after he allegedly stole a maintenance truck on the Indiana Toll Road and backed it toward officers.

State police said the chain of events began around 2 p.m., when Valparaiso police got a call of three men who were trying to break into cars.

About 35 minutes later, a Valparaiso police officer saw a vehicle headed up Calumet Avenue in Valparaiso that matched a description police had received. The officer tried to pull the car over, but the driver fled north on Calumet Avenue and then north on State Road 49, state police said.

Dispatchers said the stolen vehicle was going over 100 mph.

The vehicle then entered the Indiana Toll Road at the Valparaiso exit at mile marker 31, and kept fleeing police in a westerly direction – eventually crashing near mile marker 27.8, state police said.

Once the vehicle crashed, the three men who had been inside ran off into the woods north of the toll road, near County Road 200 West, state police said.

Indiana State Police troopers from the Toll Road and Lowell posts, and officers from Valparaiso and Porter counties began searching for the suspects on foot, state police said.

Two of them were found in the woods and were arrested without incident, state police said.

But the third found his way back onto the toll road on foot, and was seen running west down the expressway by an Indiana Toll Road Concession Company maintenance worker who was directing traffic from the original crash, state police said.

The road worker was outside of his truck setting up traffic cones when he saw the suspect try to get into an occupied vehicle that was stuck in traffic. State police said the road worker then saw the suspect get right into the driver’s seat of his maintenance vehicle – a red pickup truck with a flashing yellow arrow sign mounted over it.

The road worker tried to grab the suspect and tell him he had no business taking the maintenance truck.

“At that point, the suspect backed up quickly into a semi that was stopped in traffic towards where the officers searching on foot were standing,” said Indiana State Police Sgt. Ted Bohner.

A Porter County Sheriff’s deputy and two Indiana State troopers fired their guns at the suspect, state police said. The suspect put the maintenance truck into drive and fled a short distance west before crashing into another semi, state police said.

The suspect then got out of the maintenance vehicle, and then ran onto CR 200 West below the toll road where he was apprehended, state police said.

The suspect was taken to Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in Gary with non-life-threatening injuries, state police said.

Earlier reports indicated that the suspect had been shot by state police. But late Wednesday, state police said they did not know for sure if the suspect was injured by police gunfire or some other way.

All three suspects were in custody late Wednesday.

The westbound toll road was shut down for hours for investigation Wednesday night.

An active investigation continued for Indiana State Police Wednesday night. They were handling all aspects.

Suspects’ names have not been released, and state police have not shared the names of the officers who fired weapons.

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