Two-state vehicle chase leads to arrest in Michigan
At 2:30 p.m. Thursday, a deputy with the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office was working Operation Pullover, a traffic enforcement project, when he began driving behind a Dodge Neon on U.S. 20, east of Meer Road.
When both vehicles neared the intersection of U.S. 20 and U.S. 35, the deputy saw the Dodge Neon, driven by 35-year-old Travis Hatchel of La Porte, suddenly merge from the passing to the driving lane, committing a traffic violation while doing so, deputies said.
The deputy pulled the vehicle over in the parking lot of a service station near the same intersection. The deputy then became suspicious of Hatchel while speaking with him during the traffic stop, reports said.
As the deputy tried to correctly identify the driver, a Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Deputy came to assist. As the two deputies approached the vehicle again, Hatchel sped off, initiating a pursuit, deputies said.
The deputies followed Hatchel on U.S. 35 and U.S. 20 before Hatchel began to discard unknown items from the vehicle while driving in the 6000 North block of C.R. 525 West, reports said.
The pursuit eventually made its way out of Indiana and into Berrien County in Michigan.
Deputies continued to pursue Hatchel when he drove into a field north of U.S. 12 and west of Hampton Road and into an area of the field that restricted the vehicle’s movement.
Hatchel put the vehicle in reverse and backed into one of the deputy’s unmarked pickup trucks, deputies said.
Hatchel then ran away from the vehicles and through a water-filled ditch, reports said.
A K-9 with the deputies assisted in the pursuit and took down Hatchel after crossing the ditch. While on the ground, Hatchel physically resisted the K-9 before being put in handcuffs by deputies, deputies reported.
Hatchel allegedly had several active warrants for his arrest through the Sheriff’s Office and was transported to the Berrien County Jail, deputies said.
In addition to the arrest warrants, Hatchel will be charged in both states for offenses related to the vehicle and foot pursuits, deputies said.
Hatchel remains in the Berrien County Jail and will eventually be moved to the La Porte County Jail.