PERU – Deputies say an Indianapolis man led a Miami County officer on a high-speed chase in a stolen car during Tuesday’s snowstorm that ended with both of them crashing into snow drifts in Rochester.
Deputy Nathan Freeman was helping a driver who slid off the road at around 12:19 a.m. near the intersection of U.S. 31 and 1500 North, when he was advised by dispatch of an auto theft.
Dispatch reported a white Toyota Venza had just been stolen from Gallahan’s Truck Stop, and the driver was believed to be heading north on U.S. 31.
Freeman pulled into a crossover on the highway, when he saw a white Toyota pass him heading north at about 45 mph, according to a probable-cause affidavit.
He noted road conditions were very poor after the area had just received 8 inches of snow, and high winds were causing drifting.
Freeman pulled out behind the Toyota and activated the police lights, when the vehicle took off at speeds over 70 mph.
The chase led into Fulton County, where the Toyota exited on Indiana 25 and drove in to downtown Rochester.
Freeman then observed the vehicle crash into a snow drift near Main and 13th streets. The driver exited the vehicle and began to flee on foot, according to the affidavit.
Freeman said he also drove into a snow drift to “assist in a more expedient stop” and then pursued the driver on foot through a residential neighborhood.
Freeman was able to apprehend the driver after he rounded the corner of a house and fell down in the snow.
Deputies identified the driver as Demarcus J.C. Thomas, 1800 block of Ludlow Ave., Indianapolis, who admitted to stealing the car and fleeing, according to the affidavit.
Thomas told deputies he stole the Toyota because was stranded at the truck stop and wanted to get to his girlfriend’s house in Mishawaka. He also admitted to throwing the car owner’s cellphone out of the window so he couldn’t be tracked.
Thomas was booked into the Miami County Jail on felony charges of vehicle theft and resisting law enforcement, and a misdemeanor charge of theft. He is being held on a $20,000 bond.