Chesterton Tribune


Man who stole KPD squad car in escape after traffic stop sentenced to probation

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A Knox man who stole a Kouts Police squad car earlier this year and fled pursuing officers has been sentenced to probation, after pleading guilty to charges of auto theft and escape.

Last week William E. Blankenship II, 22, was sentenced to two years in the Indiana Department of Correction on the auto theft charge and five on the escape charge, the sentences to be served concurrently. Then Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford suspended the whole of the sentence but for the 264 days which Blankenship already served in jail awaiting disposition.

As a condition of his formal probation, Blankenship—who is currently in custody in Illinois—must “continue with mental health and substance abuse treatment” and must pay court costs and restitution totaling $1,766.91, according to Bradford’s sentencing order.

In exchange for his guilty plea, two others charges were dismissed: fleeing law enforcement and criminal mischief. Blankenship was ordered to report to the Porter County Adult Probation Department within 24 hours of his release from custody in Illinois.

Auto theft is a Class D felony punishable by a term of six months to three years; to the advisory sentence of 18 months, Bradford added six months. Escape is a Class C felony; to the advisory sentence of four years, Bradford added one year. In his sentencing order, Bradford cited Blankenship’s “lengthy criminal history” as an aggravating circumstance. He found no mitigating circumstance.

On Jan. 10, Blankenship was stopped by a KPD officer at the Family Express at Ind. 8 and Ind. 49. The officer was conducting an inventory of Blankenship’s vehicle when Blankenship, handcuffed, managed to get behind the wheel of the squad car and flee the scene, the Porter County Sheriff’s Police said. At some point in his flight he made contact with the 911 dispatcher to ask where he could find the squad’s cigarette lighter and a handcuff key. The dispatcher instead tried to persuade Blankenship to pull over and give himself up.

The squad car was recovered, wrecked and submerged in water, in LaPorte County a day later, with the officer’s loaded shotgun and rifle still inside. Blankenship surrendered to authorities on Jan. 12.



Posted 10/9/2012