Crime Watch 8

Drivers angered by injustice of bystander’s death following police pursuit

LAWRENCE, Ind. (WISH) — Residents were outraged by the injustice of an innocent bystander’s death Monday at Pendleton Pike and Oaklandon Road following a high-speed police pursuit.

The driver of an SUV not involved in the pursuit was killed when the suspect’s car crashed into his vehicle around 1 p.m. at the busy intersection, officials said.

A passenger in the SUV was injured but expected to survive, according to a spokesperson for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD).

“IMPD would like to extend our most sincere condolences to the family of the victims,” police said in an emailed statement to News 8.

Officials had not yet identified the victims Monday night.

The pursuit began at 12:49 p.m. in a neighborhood near Newport Drive and Pendleton Pike when authorities attempted to serve an arrest warrant tied to a federal firearms investigation, according to police.

The suspect fled in a navy Dodge Charger and led officers on a chase from Lawrence to neighboring Hancock County, where police said they lost sight of the suspect vehicle. 

The Dodge Charger reentered Marion County and crashed at 1:03 p.m., less than a mile from the neighborhood where the pursuit began.

Authorities were not “actively pursuing” the suspect vehicle when it hit the SUV, killing the driver and injuring the passenger, a police spokesperson told News 8.

It remained unclear Monday night how fast the Dodge Charger was traveling and why the driver lost control. The suspect was taken into custody in unknown condition.

Kim Shaw, a longtime Lawrence resident, said she often feared driving near Pendleton Pike and Oaklandon Road “even on a good day.”

“It’s a very busy intersection,” Shaw said. “So many subdivisions and very few thoroughfares so everybody’s racing. [The deadly crash today] is just one of those things that makes me even more cautious. I feel bad for the family of the person who was killed.”

Louis Owsley, another Lawrence resident, said he witnessed at least two accidents or near-accidents a month at Pendleton Pike and Oaklandon Road. 

“I [take a detour] just to avoid that intersection, especially during rush hour and early in the morning,” Owsley said. “Why [was there] a high-speed pursuit in such a busy place? … Now somebody isn’t going to get to see the new year.”

More than 300 people die each year as a result of police pursuits, according to data published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics; approximately one-third of those killed are innocent bystanders.