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IMPD: Driver fleeing in car reported stolen dies after crashing into pole

NW Crash 1.jpg
Posted at 6:33 AM, Jan 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-03 12:09:01-05

INDIANAPOLIS — A driver fleeing police was killed Tuesday morning after crashing on the northwest side of Indianapolis, according to IMPD.

The crash occurred around just before 4 a.m. near the West 62nd Street and Zionsville Road, east of Interstate 465, when the car hit a pole and caught fire.

According to police, the incident began when an off-duty IMPD officer witnessed the car traveling at a slow speed and straddling the shoulder of the road on I-465.

"This vehicle was traveling at a slow speed without headlights and was straddling the shoulder on I-465 northbound near W 86th St," IMPD said in a email to WRTV. "It was later determined the vehicle was also stolen."

Officer found the car to be stolen out of Anderson and attempted to stop the vehicle, causing the driver to flee.

The driver crashed into the pole and died at the scene.

Debris from the crash hit a nearby house, but nobody inside the house was injured, according to IMPD.

The intersection of West 62nd Street and Zionsville Road is expected to be closed for several hours. In an update around 9:30 a.m., IMPD said the traffic lights at the intersection are expected to be down most of the day.

The identification of the driver will be released at a later time by the Marion County Coroner’s Office.

WRTV asked IMPD whether the officer followed the agency's pursuit policy.

"This is an ongoing investigation both internally and externally," responded IMPD in an email to WRTV.

IMPD's pursuit policy was updated in August 2020.

It states a pursuit is authorized when an officer has reasonable suspicion to believe an occupant has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a felony (beyond the act of fleeing alone) or a misdemeanor exception offense; and/or witnesses a misdemeanor offense.

The policy says a pursuit may not be initiated based solely upon an observed traffic infraction.

"If an officer has articulable suspicion additional criminal activity is afoot (beyond the traffic infraction and/or the act of fleeing), the officer may pursue," read the policy.

IMPD officers have to consider the following factors when deciding whether to pursue:

1. The dangers and risks posed to the officers, bystanders, uninvolved motorists, and vehicle occupants;

2. Severity of the offense;

3. Knowledge of the identity of the pursued suspect(s);

4. Other occupants within the vehicle (e.g., children or elderly);

5. Weather and lighting conditions;

6. Road conditions (e.g., intersections, traffic controls, overhead lighting, curves, hills, repair, width of road, etc.);

7. Traffic conditions (e.g., density of vehicle and pedestrian traffic);

8. Locality of pursuit (e.g., residential, highway, school zones, etc.);

9. Officer’s familiarity with area;

10. Danger presented by the suspect’s actions (e.g., speed, driving against traffic, extreme evasive tactics, whether the officer knows or suspects the driver may be under the influence of an intoxicant, etc.); and

11. The officer and fleeing suspect’s driving skills, ability, and vehicle condition.

This is a developing story.