GARY | A Gary officer crashed his squad Friday on Interstate 65 while driving to his Merrillville home to check on a burglary there, prompting a state police and an internal Gary investigation, officials said.
Gary Police Chief Wade Ingram said Officer George Dickerson heard his home was being burglarized while on duty Friday afternoon and received permission from his supervisor to go check on his home.
Sgt. Ann Wojas, spokeswoman for the Indiana State Police for the Lowell District, said Dickerson was driving south on I-65 near Ridge Road around 3:30 p.m. Friday with his emergency lights and sirens on when he hit a 2000 Lexus.
State police dispatchers initially were told their officers would not be needed to assist, but were later called to the scene, Wojas said.
Gary police squads and ambulances were at the scene when troopers arrived, she said. Indiana State Police have jurisdiction over expressway crashes.
Wojas said the squad hit the driver's side door of the Lexus, causing both vehicles to hit the concrete barrier wall.
The driver of the Lexus — Dr. Frederick Fedorchak, a Portage podiatrist — and Dickerson gave conflicting reports on the events leading to the crash, Wojas said. Fedorchak said he was merging to the shoulder to allow the squad to pass, and Dickerson said he lost control on an icy patch of road, Wojas said.
Dickerson was treated at Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in Gary and released, Wojas said. Fedorchak and a passenger were treated at St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart and released, Wojas said.
Ingram said Dickerson will appear before the Traffic Accident Review Board in April, as is protocol for officers involved in crashes in their squad cars.
"They make a determination as to whether it was preventable or not and whether or not he was at fault," Ingram said.
The board's findings are sent to Ingram for review. He may then accept or deny the recommendations. Ingram also has the ability to modify any recommended penalties.
Dickerson remains on duty pending the review process, Ingram said.
The squad involved in the accident sustained minor damages and will be back on the street again by week's end, Ingram said.