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Man killed in crash during police pursuit

Man killed in crash during police pursuit

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HOBART — A man was killed early Saturday when the SUV he was driving was struck by another vehicle as he ran a red light during a police chase, officials said.

The man, who has not yet been identified, disregarded a Hobart officer's attempts to pull him over for running a stop sign about 1:20 a.m. in the area of 39th Avenue and Tennessee Street, Hobart police Capt. James Gonzales said.

The officer activated his emergency lights and siren, but the man sped off westbound on 39th Avenue and disregarded several more stop signs, police said.

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The officer pursued the driver, who disregarded a red light at 39th Avenue and Broadway in Gary.

As the driver entered the intersection, the gray SUV he was driving was hit on the driver's side by a vehicle traveling north on Broadway, Gonzales said.

The gray SUV spun out and struck a traffic light pole, then rolled onto its roof, police said.

The officer immediately called for medics and checked on two people in the northbound vehicle. They were conscious and able to exit the car on their own, Gonzales said.

The officer then checked on the man in the gray SUV. The man was unconscious, and the officer could not start life-saving measures because of the position of the SUV, police said.

Gary Fire Department medics arrived and attempted to remove the driver, but he died at the scene, police said.

The driver didn't have any identification, police said.

The Lake County coroner's office is working to identify the man.

The cause of death was pending. The manner of death was an accident, a coroner's release said.

The Lake County Sheriff's Department accident reconstruction team, sheriff's crime scene detectives and Gary police assisted.

Hobart police conducted a preliminary investigation and determined the officer involved did not violate the department's pursuit policy, Gonzales said.

The officer was not placed on any type of leave, he said.

"The Hobart Police Department extends our sincere condolences to the family of the decedent," he said.

The department also strongly encourages drivers to pull over when a police officer initiates a traffic stop, "so that tragic events such as this don't occur," he said.


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