South Bend business temporarily closed after police chase leads to crash, severe damage

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – LKQ in South Bend is temporarily out of commission after a car crashed into the business Wednesday morning. The car, driven by Antonio Cruz, was being chased by police.

LKQ is an auto parts shop and salvage yard. The general manager says he’s anticipating the repairs to cost several thousand dollars.

“Our front entrance has been damaged,” said Jon Love, the general manager. “The windows have been knocked out, that wall has all shifted this way several inches. So it’s more extensive than i anticipated.”

Love is still working with insurance to find out just how much the damage will add up to, but he’s staying positive.  

“This is not going to keep us down. We’ll be back,” he said. “We’re going to try to get back in the swing of things as quick as possible.”

The police chase that led to the damage started at the intersection of Lafayette Boulevard and Sample Street. That’s where police say Cruz was sleeping in a car while it was running on the road. 

When police approached him, he took off down Lafayette Boulevard.

The South Bend Police Department’s guidelines for a vehicle pursuit allow an officer to initiate a pursuit if the suspect shows an intention to avoid apprehension by refusing to stop when asked, or if an officer thinks the suspect would present a serious danger to others if allowed to leave.

Officers followed Cruz down Lafayette Boulevard, where he jumped a curb and smashed into the front of LKQ.

“Thank God, nobody was here at the time,” said Love. “We all got lucky today.”

But the damage will force him to close up shop for a while.

“I mean it could be several weeks before we’re ready to go full board,” said Love.

He says he’s still optimistic for an excellent year at the business.

Cruz ran away from the crash on foot before being caught by police. He was taken to the hospital for minor injuries and then booked into the St. Joseph County Jail. He has three charges including driving without a license, resisting law enforcement and leaving the scene of a crash.

Police have not confirmed if he had drugs or alcohol in his system.


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