Police chase ends with crash, 2 gang members apprehended

Fort Wayne police investigating a crash Thursday night. (WANE Photo)
Fort Wayne police investigating a crash Thursday night. (WANE Photo)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Fort Wayne police apprehended two gang members suspected of evading police and crashing into a vehicle Thursday night.

It all started around 10 p.m. when a city police officer spotted someone inside an SUV that was recognized to have outstanding warrants.

FWPD spokesperson Officer Chris Felton said the officer ran the vehicle’s license plate and it came back with warrants attached to the registered owner. Felton said that information allowed the police officer to attempt a traffic stop on the vehicle.

Felton said the driver didn’t stop and evaded police for several miles through residential streets. Other officers attempted to stop the SUV using stop sticks but were unsuccessful. Felton said the driver disregarded stop signs and traffic signals and appeared to show no regard for the safety of others.

Felton said as the pursuit continued south on South Anthony Boulevard the driver ran a red light at the intersection with Rudisill Boulevard. An unsuspecting pickup truck was broadsided in the intersection twisting the vehicle and causing severe damage.

A man and woman inside the truck were seriously injured in the crash. At least one of them was thrown from the vehicle and the other was left hanging out of the passenger side.

Paramedics took both to the hospital where they remained in serious condition early Friday morning.

The SUV continued forward before jumping a curb, swiping a chain link fence, and slamming into a tree in the front yard of a home in the 3900 block of South Anthony.

Felton said the driver exited the vehicle and was taken into police custody.

The passenger in the vehicle took off into a nearby alley.

Police K-9 officer Django tracked the suspect to a home on Lillie Street but officers were unable to locate anyone.

Back at the crash scene, debris from the crash littered the streets. Cinder blocks, aluminum cans, and pieces of both vehicles were strewn about the intersection.

The tree that was struck by the SUV had pieces of bark peeled away. Officers found narcotics and an undisclosed sum of cash in the SUV.

Approximately 30 minutes after the crash, 911 dispatchers notified officers in the area of a burglary in progress at a home in the 3900 block of Lillie Street – just a block from where the crash occurred.

Several officers took off down an alley, with K-9 Django once again leading officers to a home they were at previously – the same home that called 911 about a burglary.

Officers went towards Lillie Street and apprehended a man outside the home. He was later identified as the passenger in the SUV.

Police identified both the driver and passenger as known gang members. Details on their membership and involvement were not immediately available.

Felton said the passenger has active warrants, but the driver does not.

Police have not released the identities of the two men or the man and woman involved in the crash.

The FWPD Gang and Violent Crimes Unit was called to assist with the investigation.

Felton said the gang unit was not initially involved with the pursuit, but because both the driver and passenger of the fleeing SUV are known gang members that the unit was brought in as protocol.

The incident remains under investigation by the Fort Wayne Police Department and the Allen County Prosecutors Office.

Police closed the intersection of Anthony and Rudisill off for several hours while crews investigated and cleaned up the crash. Traffic was sent to nearby residential streets to get around the closure.

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