Police chase suspect 13 miles

Wanda English Burnett, Editor

After a 13-mile pursuit S/Tpr. Jim Ponsler of the Indiana State Police, arrested Terry Lee Smith, 34, of Somerset, KY.

The pursuit began when just after midnight on July 31, a dispatch was sent out by the Dearborn County Sheriff’s Department about a possible intoxicated driver who was driving a small red passenger car with broken taillights westbound on I-74 near the S.R. 1 exit.

Trooper Ponsler was in the area and saw a red car meeting that description near the 152 mile marker in Ripley County. He followed the vehicle for a short distance and observed erratic driving. The trooper initiated a traffic stop near the Batesville exit but when he began to walk up to the car, it sped away at a high rate of speed.

The pursuit continued across I-74 into Decatur County with speeds reaching up to 120 mph. Trooper Joe Loyd of the Indiana State Police joined the effort to stop the vehicle and placed stop sticks near the 141 mile marker. After the suspect’s vehicle ran over the stop sticks, he continued about two miles at much slower speeds and was finally pulled over near the 139 mile marker where officers say the driver, and lone occupant of the vehicle, was taken into custody without incident.

While police were chasing the vehicle, the driver made a frantic call to 911 saying someone was trying to kill him. At the time, he said he was the passenger and someone else was driving. He was begging the dispatcher to get the police to ‘back off’. He said he feared for his life.

The dispatcher asked him if the ‘alleged driver’ had a weapon. While at first he said he didn’t, he then changed his story and said he did. Finally, after a short silence and six minutes of a 911 call for help, Smith admitted there was no one else in the vehicle, no weapon, and he was the lone occupant and the driver. He apologized for lying. The dispatcher told him to stay put and not get out of the vehicle as police came up to the car. The call ended and Smith was taken to the Ripley County Jail where he is being held on charges of Resisting Law Enforcement with a Vehicle, Driving While Intoxicated, Reckless Driving, and Driving While Suspended.

Assisting the Indiana State Police with the incident were the Batesville and Greensburg police departments and the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department.