PORTAGE | Two Illinois residents were arrested early Sunday morning after police said they broke into a local gas station, rammed a police car and led police on a chase along the interstate into Lake Station.
Jerry Allen, 49, and Melissa Ann Bourland, 27, both of Harvey, are facing multiple charges.
Police responded just before 1 a.m. Sunday to the Luke Oil gas station, 6259 U.S. 20, after receiving a call of suspicious activity at the gas station. Upon arrival, police found that a window had been shattered and a stone wall on the east side of the building laid crumbled on the sidewalk.
Inside, a cash register had been destroyed, its drawer with an undetermined amount of cash, missing. Also taken were about 60 packs of Newport cigarettes, 100 disposable cigarette lighters and 40 bottles of energy drink.
A witness across the street from the gas station told police he had seen a white construction-like van at the Luke Oil facility, heard two loud bangs and saw someone appear to enter the store. The van then left the station heading northbound on Ind. 249.
An officer spotted the vehicle, which later turned out to be stolen from a Chicago resident, at the intersection of U.S. 20 and Ind. 249. The van ran the red light and police attempted to pull it over, but the driver didn't stop, continued northbound and then turned onto the entrance ramp for westbound Interstate 94, police said.
The driver, later identified as Allen, came to a stop at the end of the ramp. When the officer started to get out of his vehicle, he noticed the van had its reverse lights illuminated. Police said the officer returned to his vehicle and Allen proceeded to ram the van into the officer's car and then began fleeing westbound on Interstate 94. The officer, who suffered an injury to his thumb, continued the pursuit.
Allen exited at the Indiana Toll Road/Ripley Street exit with police in pursuit. The chase continued into a grassy area, and Allen allegedly drove the van into a ditch, where it became stuck. He and Bourland fled the vehicle but were caught shortly thereafter by both Portage and Lake Station officers, police said.
Allen and Bourland were transported to a local hospital and then to Porter County Jail after being medically released.
Allen is charged with burglary, auto theft, resisting/fleeing law enforcement and criminal recklessness with a vehicle. Bourland was charged with burglary, criminal trespass and resisting law enforcement. She also was wanted on two warrants through the East Chicago Police Department.