CROWN POINT — The Lake County sheriff rammed a fleeing suspect's vehicle into the side of a garage Tuesday afternoon after it drove through lawns and nearly struck schoolchildren, police said.
Police also recovered what they believe is a package containing a quarter-kilogram of cocaine that the suspect threw from a car window while fleeing police, Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez confirmed.
Sheriff's police arrested the suspect, Jermell D. Anderson, 42, of Gary, after a high-speed pursuit that began at 3:37 p.m. when Anderson fled a traffic stop on Interstate 65 near the Lake-Jasper county line, Martinez said.
He said officers of the sheriff's Highway Interdiction Unit stopped the red Mazda 6 that Anderson was driving near mile marker 130 on I-65 because it was following other vehicles too closely and was improperly using traffic lanes.
When an officer approached the driver's side window and asked for Anderson's license, the suspect sped from the scene, the sheriff said.
Police gave chase north on I-65, and the suspect ultimately exited at U.S. 231 and led police into the area of Crown Point near the intersection of East North and Church streets.
Hearing about the matter on his police radio, Martinez said he drove toward the area to help.
"The suspect drove through several yards and came dangerously close to a group of schoolchildren who had exited a school bus," Martinez said. "He clearly had no regard for anyone's life or safety."
The car then nearly hit the SUV that Martinez was driving before swerving again, he said.
Martinez said he pursued and was able to sideswipe the suspect's car, pinning it against a garage, allowing his officers to arrest Anderson and ending the pursuit at 4:16 p.m.
"I used necessary force to stop the threat," he said.
Charges in the matter will be filed Wednesday, Martinez said.
Check back on nwi.com for more details in this developing story.