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UPDATE: Man arrested Sunday in wake of kidnapping call, head-on crash seriously injuring Porter cop, police say
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UPDATE: Man arrested Sunday in wake of kidnapping call, head-on crash seriously injuring Porter cop, police say

CHESTERTON — A man who fled the scene of a head-on crash Saturday night that seriously injured a Porter police officer was taken into custody Sunday morning after seeking to use a telephone at the same gas station where a co-suspect had been arrested the night before, police said.

The man yelled a profanity at officers and ran from Chesterton police, who located him after receiving a call early Sunday about a suspicious man asking to use the phone at a Phillips 66 gas station near South Calumet Road and County Road 100 East, Indiana State Police Sgt. Glen Fifield said.

Samuel A. Kuhl, 29, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, was apprehended after a short foot pursuit and taken to the Porter County Jail, police said.

Kuhl was wanted on two separate full extradition warrants in Kalamazoo for possessing weapons as a felon, Fifield said. Chesterton police and Indiana State Police were working to secure charges against Kuhl in connection with events Saturday and Sunday, Fifield said.

Aries E. Atlas, 25, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, was arrested at the same gas station Saturday night after attempting to run following a police pursuit that started on Interstate 94 and ended in a head-on crash with a Porter police car on Ind. 49, police said.

Cpl. Scott Cornelison, a 16-year veteran of the Porter police force, was transported to Northwest Health-Porter hospital with serious, non-life-threatening injuries, Fifield said.

This episode of the "Riding Shotgun with NWI Cops" series takes viewers behind the armored vehicles and shields to see what it's like to be a part of the Lake County Sheriff's SWAT team.

The chase began Saturday night after a driver fled from state police during a traffic stop on eastbound I-94 near Burns Harbor, Fifield said.

Indiana State Police received a call about 7 p.m. about a woman, who was being held against her will, traveling east on I-94 from the Illinois state line with someone who had a handgun.

Troopers located the suspect vehicle about 7:10 p.m. and attempted to stop it, Fifield said. The driver initially pulled over, but sped away from the stop, police said.

Police observed several people in the vehicle before it pulled away, including a female, he said.

Because of that observation and a report of a kidnapping, officers initiated a pursuit.

The driver fled eastbound on I-94, exited south on Ind. 49, turned west on County Road 1050 North, went north on Calumet Avenue and turned east on County Road 1100 North, Fifield said.

Three Porter police officers were driving south on Ind. 49 with emergency lights on when the driver turned north in the highway's southbound lanes, police said.

Two of the Porter officers avoided the northbound vehicle, but a third officer in a 2021 Dodge Durango collided head-on with the fleeing vehicle, police said.

The officer's vehicle came to rest facing north, police said. The suspect's vehicle came to rest in the west ditch, and two occupants fled on foot west toward Calumet Avenue.

Troopers captured Atlas near the Phillips 66 station, after they subdued him with a Taser, Fifield said. He was taken to Franciscan Health hospital in Crown Point for treatment before he was booked at the Porter County Jail.

Kuhl, who had been described by police as a white male wearing all black clothing, remained at large until his capture early Sunday.

Three other people in the vehicle with Atlas and Kuhl did not run after the crash. One of them, a female, was taken to Northwest Health Porter hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

A handgun recovered during the investigation was reported stolen in Kalamazoo, Fifield said.

Indiana State Police received help from the Lake County Sheriff's Department and its Aviation Unit, the Porter County Sheriff's Department, and police from Chesterton, Porter, Burns Harbor and Valparaiso. The Chesterton Fire Department assisted.


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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.

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