The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Cops, courts and fires

May 3, 2014

Police chase in Alexandria ends in accident, sends one to hospital

ALEXANDRIA, Ind. — A tree limb protruded from the grille of a mangled older model, yellow Mustang as it sat in the middle of Washington Street. The vehicle, with its trunk open, doors ajar and flattened tires, displayed the end results of a high-speed police chase through the city.

“He bounced off a couple of trees and hit a parked car,” Alexandria police officer Joe Heath said of the car’s driver, who led police on a nine-block pursuit Saturday afternoon.

Heath was at the corner of Clinton and Washington streets waiting to meet another police officer from Summitville when he heard the dispatchers report a vehicle traveling in excess of 100 mph and heading north on County Road 100 East from County Road 1100 North.

The Summitville officer, on his way to meet Heath, intercepted the speeding vehicle at the intersection of Indiana 28 and Indiana 9 and began pursuing the Mustang south on Lincoln Street.

That’s when the vehicle suddenly jumped a foot-high curb and tore through a yard separating two houses. The Mustang smashed through some trees and shrubbery before crashing into a car parked in the driveway of one of the homes.

“There were about 15 to 20 people running around because they had either heard the pursuit or the crash,” Heath said. “One witness described the speeding vehicle as a yellow blur.”

Around the corner from the accident scene, Damon Friend of Alexandria said he felt his house shake when the vehicle crashed. He was one of the first people to rush out of his home to see what had happened.

“They thought a bomb or something had gone off,” he said. “The sad thing is the path he took, there is normally three or four little kids playing around there. Thank God they were not there.”

Both airbags had deployed in the Mustang and the driver was knocked unconscious from the impact, Heath said.

The car began to billow black smoke, and Heath immediately yanked open the driver’s door to check for occupants.

No one was in the driver’s seat, and Heath realized the driver was wedged in the front corner of the passenger’s side of the vehicle. He said he made a split-second decision to pull the man from the vehicle, fearing the car was about to go up in flames.

“I had to crawl over the driver’s side to get to him,” Heath said.

Fellow Alexandria officer Tom Everett helped Heath pull the man from the vehicle before checking his vitals and rendering basic first aid until an ambulance arrived. The man had regained consciousness before he was transported to a local hospital.

Selena Everingham of Alexandria was one of the first people to rush to the scene after hearing the impact from the crash.

“As soon as the cops pulled him out I knew who it was,” she said. “Living in a small town – you know everyone. I automatically told them, ‘That’s my buddy.’”

Everingham identified the man as Kevin Miller.

Kneeling next to Miller, Everingham said she was there when he regained consciousness.

“I told him it was me and to listen to my voice,” she said. “I told him he had to calm down and asked him who I needed to call. He said to call his dad.”

Miller was taken to St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital, where his condition was unknown as of Saturday evening. Heath said the driver will face several charges including a felony for trying to elude officers and traveling at a high rate of speed.

“He really is a great guy,” Everingham said. “And he only had that car for three weeks.”

After the accident, police officers searching the Mustang found a less than half full bottle of Crown Royal whiskey and several cans of beer in the vehicle, in addition to a prescription bottle found behind the driver’s seat.

Looking at the twisted vehicle behind him, Heath said he was thankful no one was more seriously injured.

“I’m glad it didn’t catch fire,” Heath said. “I was all over that thing.”

Like Traci L. Moyer on Facebook and follow her @moyyer on Twitter, or call 648-4250.

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