MISHAWAKA – A Michigan City man is behind bars after state police said he and a passenger threw suspected methamphetamine out of a stolen vehicle as it sped away from a traffic stop on the Indiana Toll Road early Thursday.
Robert Evans Binder, 44, is preliminarily charged with dealing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a legend drug, possession of a stolen vehicle, resisting law enforcement, forgery-counterfeiting and reckless driving, according to Indiana State Police. He also received several traffic citations.
A passenger in the vehicle, 44-year-old Margaret A. Sells of South Bend, is preliminarily charged with dealing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a legend drug, possession of a stolen vehicle, and false informing, according to ISP. She was also wanted on an Elkhart County warrant, police said.
Both were being held without bond in the Elkhart County Jail.
About 3 a.m. Thursday, a state trooper was westbound on the Indiana Toll Road behind a silver 2001 Mercedes near the 90-mile marker, when the he saw the vehicle commit a moving violation as it entered the service plaza, according to ISP Sgt. Ted Bohner.
The trooper "turned on the emergency lights on his marked squad car to make a traffic stop and that is when the Mercedes purportedly sped out of the service plaza parking lot, refusing to stop for him," Bohner said.
As the Mercedes sped away with the trooper in pursuit with lights and siren on, "the occupants of the Mercedes allegedly began throwing suspected drugs out of the car," Bohner said. The trooper "described the items as turning into white dust as they hit the road."
The Mercedes continued westbound and eventually exited the Toll Road at the Mishawaka Exit, where it came to a safe stop, according to Bohner. Both occupants were taken into custody.
The passenger was ultimately identified as Sells after initially giving a false name when asked by troopers, police said.
The Mercedes was found to have a false license plate and police determined it had been reported stolen out of St. Joseph County, Bohner said.
"During a subsequent search of the Mercedes, troopers located a bag of suspected methamphetamine inside a baby seat, 16 pills of suspected Ecstasy, 87 other pills identified as legend drugs, and a counterfeit $20 bill," he said.
Assisting troopers were also able to find and collect more suspected meth along the Toll Road where the trooper had reported Binder and Sells throwing items out of the car, police said. A total of about 31.5 grams of suspected methamphetamine were found on the road and in the car.
The St. Joseph County Sheriff's Department assisted in the investigation.