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Police arrest suspect after chase with stolen school bus

SHELBYVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — A 32-year-old Cincinnati man was arrested Tuesday morning after police caught him driving a stolen school bus through Shelby and Decatur counties, according to Indiana State Police.

Police say the bus was reported stolen in the Cincinnati area. A bus driver was practicing a summer route and had stepped out of the bus when the suspect jumped in and drove away.

Chad Avery Murdock faces preliminary charges of resisting law enforcement, criminal recklessness with a vehicle, possession of stolen property, and criminal mischief, Indiana police say.

Ohio authorities couldn’t locate the bus so they alerted Indiana State Police. Troopers located the bus in Decatur County. The suspects cut across several fields and yards and led troopers on a cross-county chase.

The pursuit ended in a field near the intersection of State Road 9 and Shelby County Road East 350 South. That’s south of Shelbyville and west of Lewis Creek. The total chase time was about 50 minutes.

No children were in the bus, according to Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine.

Multiple police vehicles and property were damaged during the pursuit, Indiana State Police Sgt. Stephen Wheeles said. No one was injured.

A small fire broke out near the final spot of the pursuit, according to the Shelby County Fire Department. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

Anyone who sustained property damage should contact the Indiana State Police Versailles post at 812-689-5000.

This story had been updated to correct that a cross-county chase happened.

News release

“Suspect Steals School Bus, Arrested After Hour Long Pursuit

“This morning, a suspect stole a school bus from the Cincinnati, Ohio area and led police from numerous Indiana police departments on a chase that lasted nearly an hour before the bus became disabled and the suspect was arrested.

“At approximately 10:15 am this morning, the Indiana State Police-Versailles Post was contacted by Ohio authorities who relayed information that a yellow 2021 school bus had been stolen from the Cincinnati area and was currently being tracked while it traveled westbound on I-74 near Batesville in Ripley County, Indiana. A Batesville Police Officer and two Indiana State Troopers located the vehicle and followed it as it entered Decatur County, Indiana.

“The troopers attempted to initiate a traffic stop on the vehicle. The suspect and lone occupant of the vehicle, Chad Avery Murdock, age 32, Cincinnati, Ohio, did not stop and fled from the officers in the vehicle. The vehicle eventually went off road into numerous fields and yards. The bus drove on numerous county roads as well as US 421 and SR 9 during the pursuit. Numerous officers from multiple departments joined the pursuit as the bus entered Shelby County.

“Officers were eventually able to deploy a tire deflation device successfully which caused the tires on the bus to deflate. At approximately 11:15 am, officers boxed the bus in as it drove through another field, causing Murdock to stop the bus near County Road 25 East, just south of Shelbyville in Shelby County, Indiana. Murdock was then taken into custody without further incident.

“Multiple police vehicles were damaged due to collisions with the bus during the pursuit. Multiple fields and yards also sustained damages due to Murdock’s actions.

“Neither Murdock nor any of the police officers involved were injured during the incident.

“Murdock was transported to the Decatur County Jail where he was incarcerated on preliminary charges of Resisting Law Enforcement, Criminal Recklessness with a Vehicle, Possession of Stolen Property, and Criminal Mischief. Additional charges are possible.”

Indiana State Police news release issued at 5:09 p.m. May 30, 2023