Police: LaPorte official tries to elude police

2013-01-10T19:00:00Z 2013-01-10T21:12:11Z Police: LaPorte official tries to elude policeStan Maddux Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
January 10, 2013 7:00 pm  • 

A LaPorte official, apparently fed up with being written up for seat belt violations, is accused of trying to elude police at high speeds early Thursday.

Tim Stabosz later was asked to resign his position on the mayor's Historic Preservation Commission.

"I commend Mr. Stabosz for the service he wants to offer to the city, but I think there are certain standards that we must purport to represent the city in the best way,” said Mayor Blair Milo.

Stabosz holds the position of secretary on the commission, whose members are appointed by the mayor and approved by the City Council.

Stabosz also served on the City Council from 2003 to 2006 and twice has sought re-election.

According to police, about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Officer Billy Degneegaard saw a 1997 BMW eastbound on Lincolnway and saw the driver had no seat belt on.

The officer got into a position to make a traffic stop when the car, now southbound on Monroe Street, suddenly veered onto Jefferson Avenue and fled east at a high rate of speed.

Another officer, Clyde Crass, joined in the attempt to stop the car, which turned north onto Clay Street then back onto Lincolnway, where the back end of the car fishtailed while turning, due to excessive speed, police said.

Police said the car traveled another five or six blocks before stopping for a red light at Lincolnway and Tipton Street, which allowed the officers, who kept losing distance, to catch up.

After stopping the car at Rose Street and Jefferson Avenue, police said, the officer asked Stabosz why he was driving so fast.

Stabosz replied he had received two seat belt violation tickets recently and, not wanting a third citation, "he tried to lose the officers," police said.

Now, Stabosz faces another $25 fine for a seat belt violation and $150 for each of the two citations he received for speeding and failing to use his turn signal.

LaPorte police Capt. Tom Heath said Stabosz can either pay the fines or challenge them in court.

He said fleeing to avoid a traffic ticket is not out of the ordinary but it's unusual when a public official is involved.

"It's uncommon when it's somebody who is fairly well known," Heath said.

Milo, after reviewing police reports of the incident and talking to Stabosz, quickly asked for his resignation.

If he doesn't step down, Milo said, she will ask the city council to rescind its approval of his appointment.

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