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Princeton man facing charges after police find meth, paraphernalia after vehicle chase, fight

PATOKA, Ind. (WISH) — A Gibson County man is facing several charges after state police say they found meth and other drug paraphernalia in his vehicle following a brief chase on Monday.

Around 7:45 p.m., a state trooper pulled over the driver of a 2007 Chevy for driving 49 mph in a 25 mph zone on Main Street near River Road in Patoka.

When the trooper spoke with the driver, 46-year-old Zeberiah Stilwell of Princeton, police say he noted the smell of “burnt cannabis” and saw a “metal smoking device containing burnt residue on the center console.”

The trooper then requested backup from another officer, and as he prepared to give Stilwell a sobriety test, Stilwell sped off.

Stilwell led the trooper on a short chase through Patoka, eventually driving along county roads before eventually leaving the road and driving into a field off County Road 15 northeast of town.

After driving through the field, Stilwell eventually got stuck in the mud, and continued the chase on foot.

The trooper tackled Stilwell, but police say he continued to resist arrest.

Another trooper arrived to help, but Stilwell continued to fight with both of them “for several minutes before finally being taken into custody.”

Both troopers received minor injuries as a result of the fight.

When police searched Stilwell’s Chevy, they found “a loaded .22 caliber handgun with no serial number, three syringes, a spoon with crystal-like substance on it, two more smoking devices, a plastic bag with white crystal residue, and a glass vile with crystal residue.”

The crystal substance later tested positive for meth.

Stilwell was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, then taken to the Gibson County jail. Stilwell faces multiple felony and misdemeanor charges:

  • Possession of a firearm by a violent felon
  • Battery with bodily waste
  • Battery causing injury
  • Resisting law enforcement
  • Possession of meth
  • Possession of a syringe
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Operating while intoxicated

Patoka is a town with a population of 735, two and a half hours southwest of downtown Indianapolis.