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Illinois man charged with leading Indiana police on I-65 chase in Lake County

CROWN POINT, Ind. (WISH) — The West Chicago, Illinois, man accused of leading Indiana State Police on a Wednesday stop-and-go chase on Interstate 65 has been charged by the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office, authorities said Friday.

Thomas Sanhamel, 65, is charged with one count of attempted murder, one count of attempted battery by means of a deadly weapon, four counts of battery by means of a deadly weapon, one count of attempting to commit battery against a public safety official, four counts of battery to a public safety official, and two counts of resisting law enforcement.

According to state police, just after 3 p.m. Wednesday, a state police trooper was patrolling 1-65 about three miles north of State Road 2 in Lake County when they were notified of a driver traveling 5 mph in the right lane, creating a dangerous situation for other motorists.

The trooper found the vehicle and attempted to make a traffic stop to investigate.

Sanhamel did not stop and sped way from the officer, beginning a pursuit.

He drove southbound and nearly hit a disabled semi and the pedestrians standing close to it.

Officers attempted to slow the pursuit by using tire-deflating devices but were unsuccessful. Another attempt to deploy tire-deflating devices was successful, causing the driver’s-side tire to deflate.

The driver continued to drive at a low speed. He then intentionally rammed into a state police car.

He was then forced to drive into the median. He initially stopped, but accelerated again when troopers approached his truck, ramming other police cars in the process.

Sanhamel continued the chase, driving north in the southbound lanes, but was forced to drive in a ditch due to heavy traffic backup. When he tried to get back on the interstate, he rammed a Jasper County Sheriff’s Office patrol car four times until his vehicle became disabled against the police car.

Sanhamel was then taken into custody. He was taken to Franciscan Health Hospital in Crown Point for treatment of minor injuries.

Three troopers were treated at the scene for minor injuries. Three police cars were also damaged from Sanhamel ramming into them.

Sanhamel was being held Friday at the Lake County jail.

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