MICHIGAN CITY – A Michigan City man and his daughter were arrested early Monday after leading police on a high-speed chase across two counties and several Michigan City neighborhoods, reaching speed of more than 100 mph and leaving a squad car damaged, according to police.
Billy Joe Fox, 44, of Michigan City, and his daughter, 21-year-old Tabatha Anne Fox of Lake Station, are each charged with one felony count of resisting law enforcement with a vehicle, and one misdemeanor count of reckless driving, according to the Porter County Sheriff's Department.
About 11:52 p.m., Sunday, Porter County deputies notified Michigan City Police they were in pursuit of a van in excess of 100 mph on U.S. 20 heading toward Michigan City. The driver then went north onto U.S. 12 as he neared the county line, and several MCPD units were waiting, according to the La Porte County Sheriff's Department.
The maroon 2002 Dodge Caravan drove through several streets on the far west side of the city before going back into Porter County to Beverly Shores, the report said. But the address on the vehicle registration was in the 300 Block of Hobart Street in Michigan City, so units also set up there.
The vehicle did a u-turn on U.S. 12 and went back to Michigan City, taking side streets as Porter County and MCPD units followed, deploying tire deflation devices which the van avoided, the report said.
The vehicle went through the Elston Grove neighborhood, and past the MCPD station before going south on Cleveland Avenue to Barker Avenue, then east to Hendricks and north into the Eastport neighborhood, the report said. The vehicle nearly struck a Long Beach Police squad car as it continued speeding north on School Street.
It then went west through an alley between Hobart and Springland, before continuing west on Walker Street to 8th Street, the report said. It ran the stop light at Michigan Boulevard and 8th Street and again accelerated, the report said.
It drove around several blocks in Elston Grove, where a passenger got out and ran away, then continued east on 8th Street, east on Springland, north on Liberty Trail and back to U.S. 12, with three Porter County and one La Porte County squad in pursuit.
The van "slowed" to around 70 mph on Karwick Road as it approached the intersection of U.S. 12 and Ind. 212, where the driver "drove in the oncoming lane to avoid a curve," the report said.
Because of the erratic driving and the driver "showing gross negligence for other vehicles, specifically law enforcement vehicles, by nearly striking them head-on," a La Porte County deputy advised the E-911 Center to have Porter County units to back off so he could perform a Precision Intervention Technique for which he was trained and certified, the report said.
The officer positioned his marked squad next to the rear driver side of the van to nudge it, but the van "made an abrupt movement" to avoid the PIT, the report said. The officer then tried to perform the PIT from the passenger side, but the van "turned into the front corner" of the squad car as the vehicles continued east on U.S. 12, the report said.
On the third attempt at the PIT, the squad car hit the rear driver's side of the van, causing it to spin backwards into a grass-covered ditch next to the railroad tracks, and come to a stop.
The driver was identified as Tabitha Fox, though Porter County officers said a man was driving when the pursuit began. She had an odor associated with an alcoholic beverage and was arrested, according to the report, and she admitted switching seats with her father at some point.
There were three other occupants in the van, including Billy Joe Fox, who Porter County officers identified as the man who was initially driving; and the registered owner of the vehicle, though insurance information she provided could not be verified and was being investigated, the report said.
Porter County deputies said they initially clocked the van going 92 mph on U.S. 20 near CR-325 East, but when they tried to make a traffic stop, the van entered a business parking lot, drove around the building and went back east on U.S. 20.
The La Porte County squad car sustained damage to both front corners, and the front bumper as a result of the incident, the report said.
Billy Joe Fox and Tabitha Fox both appeared in Porter Superior Court 3 on Monday and were placed in pretrial supervision before being released on $750 bonds, according to court records. Their next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 20.