A Gary resident was
arrested Monday on charges of resisting law enforcement and reckless
driving--and issued a citation for 17 separate traffic violations--after
leading a patrol officer on a high-speed pursuit on East Oakhill Road and
U.S. Highway 20 before crashing near the Travel America truck stop in
Porter, the Porter County Sheriff’s Police said.
police, at 2:54 p.m. an officer on patrol in the northbound lanes of Ind. 49
observed the driver of a green/silver Ford Taurus make two lane changes
without signaling, before stopping for a red light in the left-turn lane at
the intersection of East Oakhill Road. The officer exited his squad car and
approached the Taurus on foot but before he was able to make contact with
the driver the light turned green and the Taurus “quickly accelerated,”
turning left onto westbound East Oakhill Road, police said.
The officer gave
chase, reaching speeds of 70 miles per hour in a zone posted 30 mph, police
said. In the area of Morningside Drive, the Taurus’ driver passed another
vehicle in a no-passing lane, failed to signal the lane change, and then
disregarded the stop sign at the intersection of Waverly Road, continuing
through it instead, police, said. The driver then disregarded the stop sign
at the intersection of U.S. 20 and turned left without signaling, nearly
colliding with another vehicle eastbound on U.S. 20, police said.
By this point the
officer had reached a speed of 100 mph, yet the Taurus’ driver was beginning
to pull away from him, continuing to change lanes without signaling and pass
other vehicles in the eastbound lanes, police said. Just east of the Travel
America, the driver failed to negotiate a curve, drove over a raised
concrete median, went airborne, and on hitting pavement again began to
fishtail, at which point the Taurus left the north side of the roadway,
flipped several times, and came to rest on its roof in a ditch, police said.
identified as Mark A. Freeman Jr., 30, and his passenger, a 23-year-old
woman who advised police that Freeman was her boyfriend, were able to exit
the vehicle under their own power. Both were treated at the scene by Porter
Regional Hospital EMS and the Porter Fire Department, police said.
that he would have gotten away if his brakes weren’t bad,” then “clamed that
he was simply attempting to get out of (the officer’s) way as it appeared
(the officer) was headed to an emergency,” and referred to the officer as a
“persistent (expletive),” expressing surprise that the officer hadn’t just
given up the chase, police said.
In addition to the
citation for the 17 traffic violations, Freeman was charged with resisting
law enforcement, reckless driving resulting in bodily injury, and operating
without ever obtaining a driver’s license. Police said that he was also
wanted on a warrant issued through Cook County, Ill., and charging him with
a “dangerous drugs” offense.
Freeman was treated
at the scene and then transported to Porter County Jail. His girlfriend was
released at the scene.