ST. JOHN — A Steger man who died after leading Dyer police on a pursuit early Tuesday and cashing into multiple vehicles was on probation for a police chase in Dyer last year, court records show.
Jason A. Mitchell, 35, had not reported to probation officials in Porter County since February and had not enrolled in or successfully completed a substance abuse treatment program as ordered, according to Lake Criminal Court records.
Court records and a coroner's release listed the same Steger address for Mitchell. He also had a Portage address, which is why he was supposed to be reporting to Porter County probation officials.
Mitchell pleaded guilty Nov. 3 to resisting law enforcement and theft, Lake Criminal Court records show.
The resisting law enforcement charge was linked to a pursuit Jan. 12, 2020, that began when a Dyer police officer attempted to stop the driver of a white Toyota Corolla for not wearing a seat belt, authorities said.
As the officer turned his patrol car around, he noticed the Corolla had expired license plates, court records state.
The driver, who was later identified as Mitchell from previous booking photos, sped up and fled into Illinois, court records state.
In exchange for Mitchell's pleas last fall, Lake County prosecutors dropped his remaining charges, including felony unlawful possession of a syringe and misdemeanor driving while suspended.
Mitchell was sentenced to six months in jail, followed by 18 months on probation. He also was ordered to successfully complete substance abuse treatment.
Because of credit for jail time he'd already served, Mitchell was released from jail Nov. 3, court records show.
He was still on probation Tuesday, when a Dyer police officer attempted to stop him about 3:30 a.m. for not having a license plate on the white Chevrolet he was driving east on U.S. 30, according to court records and police.
Mitchell sped away from the officer and turned south on U.S. 41, leading the pursuit through Schererville and into St. John, police said.
He rear-ended a blue vehicle in the 9800 block of U.S. 41, causing his vehicle to bounce into oncoming traffic and roll up and over a Lake County sheriff's patrol car, police said.
Sheriff's police were in the area to assist with the pursuit but were not yet involved, spokeswoman Pam Jones said.
The officer in the patrol car, a 36-year-old woman and five-year veteran of the force, suffered a broken wrist and hand and shoulder injuries in the crash. The officer since has been released from a hospital and was placed on leave as she recovers, Jones said.
The driver of the blue car was taken to a hospital for nonlife-threatening injuries, police said.
Mitchell was pronounced dead at the scene.
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