Two South Bend
residents were arrested Tuesday on multiple charges after the Porter County
Sheriff’s Police said that they led an officer on a high-speed pursuit on
Ind. 49 ending in an accident at 1100N.
police, at 6:38 p.m. Portage Police reported a shoplifting at the Walmart
and advised that the suspect vehicle was a silver SUV with an “unreadable
plate.” A PCSP officer subsequently observed a vehicle matching that
description eastbound on U.S. Highway 6. The officer followed the vehicle as
it exited U.S. 6 onto northbound Ind. 49, then activated his emergency
lights and siren when the vehicle’s driver “quickly accelerat(ed) down the
on-ramp,” police said.
A pursuit ensued,
with the officer “traveling nearly 120 mph in a 55 mph zone” and “not
gaining much on the suspect vehicle,” police said. At the intersection of
Gateway Blvd. the suspect vehicle’s driver slowed slightly for a red light
but swerved around the lines of traffic in the westbound turn lane and then
continued through “at a high rate of speed,” police said.
In the approach to
1100N, the driver left the roadway and proceeded onto the east shoulder,
“still maintaining a high rate of speed” and passing a number of vehicles,
until he encountered another red light at 1100N, police said. There the
driver was unable to avoid hitting a second vehicle westbound on 1100N,
losing control and spinning out back onto Ind. 49 north of the intersection,
Both of the suspect
vehicle’s occupants fled on foot, in the direction of the Strack & Van Til,
police said. In an effort to cut them off, the officer drove his squad car
into the Strack parking lot, prompting one of the suspects to turn back to
Ind. 49, where his path, however, was blocked by a trucker and another
motorist who stopped their vehicles in front of him, police said.
At that point the
suspect surrendered. He was identified as Matthew Frederick Straight, 31,
with the PCSP and the Chesterton, Porter, and Burns Harbor PDs assisted in
the search for the second suspect. He was ultimately located hiding beneath
some clothes in a clothing donation drop box in the southwest corner of the
Strack parking lot, and identified as the driver, Justen Troy Anthony
Burrows, 28., police said.
Inside the suspect
vehicle were found a pair of 55-inch Samsung televisions reported stolen
from the Valparaiso Walmart earlier in the day, police said. Portage PD,
meanwhile, advised that Straight had been pushing a cart loaded with two
additional TVs outside the entrance of the Portage Walmart when confronted
by Loss Prevention personnel, police said. At that point he abandoned the
merchandise and ran.
Also found in the
suspect vehicle were “several drug-related items,” police said. While en
route to the Porter County Jail, Burrows “freely spoke of his heroin problem
and admitted using as early as today,” police said. Burrows further stated
he “never knew today would go this way,” police said.
Straight were both charged with possession of a narcotic, possession of a
hypodermic, resisting law enforcement, possession of marijuana, and
possession of paraphernalia. Burrows was additionally charged with leaving
the scene of an accident and driving while suspended-prior.
Both were booked
into the Porter County Jail.