GARY — A 26-year-old man was charged Tuesday with seven felony counts linked to allegations he beat and strangled his pregnant girlfriend last weekend, was arrested and buckled into a police SUV and took off in the car after moving his handcuffed arms to the front of his body.
Keenan Collins Jr., of Gary, was taken into custody Sunday after the Gary squad car he stole came to a stop because of several blown tires, Lake Criminal Court records say.
Gary police responded about 2:20 p.m. Sunday to the couple's home in the 5000 block of West 20th Avenue for a domestic battery call, Cmdr. Jack Hamady said.
Collins admitted he argued with his 27-year-old girlfriend because children were playing with a pair of pliers that belonged to him, police said. He is accused of hitting the woman in the face and fighting with her sister and mother.
Officers arrested Collins on suspicion of felony domestic battery, handcuffed him and buckled him into the back seat of a police SUV, Hamady said. Collins was not wearing a shirt or shoes, so an officer left him seated in the car while attempting to retrieve clothes for Collins, Hamady said.
After the officer exited the SUV, Collins allegedly slipped his handcuffs to the front of his body and jumped into the front seat. Two officers saw the car traveling in reverse, entered a second police vehicle and gave chase.
Collins led police west on 20th Avenue, north on Hanley Street, west on 19th Avenue, north on Burr Street, west on 15th Avenue and north on Cline Avenue, Hamady said. Along the way, he allegedly disregarded stop signs and signals.
He might have hit a curb before several tires on the SUV blew out, police said. It came to a stop near 149th Street and Wegg Avenue in East Chicago, and Collins attempted to run but was arrested.
Collins did not tamper with a police-issued shotgun secured in the stolen vehicle, Hamady said. The vehicle and gun were recovered.
Collins was taken to Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus and later transported to the Gary Police Department.
He was charged Tuesday with level 5 felony counts of domestic battery to a pregnant woman, strangulation and escape, level 6 felony counts of domestic battery committed in the presence of a child, domestic battery with moderate injury, auto theft and resisting law enforcement and misdemeanor reckless driving. He also was cited for disregarding a traffic signal.