CHICAGO (CBS) — Valparaiso police have arrested three men in connection with a car theft that led police on a high speed chase Wednesday on the Indiana Toll Road that led to shots fired by police.
Kobe Watson, 22; Chaz Murray, 19; and Amari Lomax, 19, all of Dolton, Illinois, have been charged with resisting law enforcement. Lomax is also charged with possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
Police said the men were seen stealing from multiple vehicles and were involved in stealing a second vehicle from Appletree Lane in Valparaiso.
About $45,000 in theft was reported to police as well as numerous reports of the three entering other vehicles.
Police said the three led them on a chase from Valparaiso toward Chesterton in a stolen vehicle and even used that vehicle to try to strike a police vehicle in an attempt to escape.
The chase then went north, leaving Valparaiso on Calumet Avenue and ended near MM27 on the Indiana Toll Road when the suspect vehicle crashed.
That’s when police said three men fled the vehicle, but two were soon taken into custody.
Two of them were found in the woods and were arrested without incident, state police said.
But the third found his way back onto the toll road on foot, and was seen running west down the expressway by an Indiana Toll Road Concession Company maintenance worker who was directing traffic from the original crash, state police said.
The road worker was outside of his truck setting up traffic cones when he saw the suspect try to get into an occupied vehicle that was stuck in traffic. State police said the road worker then saw the suspect get right into the driver’s seat of his maintenance vehicle – a red pickup truck with a flashing yellow arrow sign mounted over it.
“At that point, the suspect backed up quickly into a semi that was stopped in traffic towards where the officers searching on foot were standing,” said Indiana State Police Sgt. Ted Bohner.
A Porter County Sheriff’s deputy and two Indiana State troopers fired their guns at the suspect, state police said. The suspect put the maintenance truck into drive and fled a short distance west before crashing into another semi, state police said.
The suspect then got out of the maintenance vehicle, and then ran onto CR 200 West below the toll road where he was apprehended, state police said.
The suspect was taken to Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in Gary with non-life-threatening injuries, state police said.
Earlier reports indicated that the suspect had been shot by state police. But late Wednesday, state police said they did not know for sure if the suspect was injured by police gunfire or some other way.