GARY, Ind. (STMW) — A man is dead after he crashed during a high-speed police chase Wednesday morning in northwest Indiana.
He has been identified as Nicholas B. Moore, 26, of Gary, Ind., according to a release from the Lake County Coroner’s office.
Merrillville police were chasing Moore after he carjacked a black Mercedes sedan shortly after 10 a.m., officers at the scene said.
Moore drove north into Gary, where police followed him onto Georgia Street and then north to Ridge Road (U.S. 6), where Merrillville police said they abandoned the pursuit.
The suspect continued north on Georgia, then attempted to turn into an alley off 37th Avenue, but lost control of the car and ricocheted off two large trees before stopping, police said.
Officers said a passerby flagged down a Merrillville officer who happened to be in the area and told him of the wreck. When the officer reached the vehicle, he determined it was the car officers had been chasing. The car then burst into flames.
Moore was taken to Methodist Hospital Northlake in Gary, where he was pronounced dead at 11:17 a.m., according to Gary Police Chief Wade Ingram Sr. and the coroner’s office.
Witnesses said officers weren’t far behind the vehicle when it reached 37th Avenue.
“I was talking to a friend when we heard this ‘boom!’ and we didn’t know what happened,” said a witness, who would identify himself only as “Big D.”
“We saw that he’d hit the tree and parked, and then there were three police cars. Two of them turned (off Ridge Road) and one went straight on Georgia.
“Then the car caught on fire, and I and an officer pulled him out of the car a little bit. It happened so fast.”
Dennis Swiatkowski, who owns the house where the car stopped, said he heard a loud crash and saw the car burst into flames. The siding on the back of his house was damaged in the incident.
“I saw the guy’s arms sticking out of the car,” Swiatkowski said.
Gary police and Indiana State Police assisted with the crash. Merrillville officers, Ingram said, left the scene before ISP arrived.
“They left without notifying our officers on the scene, and that they did is irresponsible,” Ingram said.
The medical examiner’s office said the crash occurred at 36th Street, and not 37th.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)