Shoplifting suspect hits officer, runs off after car flips in crash

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A woman shoplifted alcohol from a north side Kroger store and punched a police officer early Wednesday morning before being involved in a crash, police say.

Indianapolis Metropolitan police are still searching for the woman following the incident.

According to IMPD, the woman stole liquor from Kroger in the 1300 block of E. 86th Street around 2 a.m. The officer saw her do it and waited for her to leave the store with the alcohol. The officer approached the woman, who then punched the officer in the mouth. After a brief struggle, the woman broke free and ran to an awaiting vehicle.

The woman jumped into the car, landing on the lap of a male driver and yelling for him to drive off. The officer, disoriented after the encounter, gathered himself and radioed for help. He then got into his police car, activated the emergency lights and went after the fleeing vehicle.

The officer made it to the intersection of East 86th Street and Westfield Boulevard, but couldn’t immediately find the vehicle. He then spotted the car heading south on Westfield Boulevard and saw a cloud of smoke just a few hundred feet away.

The vehicle had struck a utility pole and was upside down; the male driver was trapped inside. Emergency crews extricated the driver, who went to St. Vincent in critical condition.

The woman escaped and ran into a nearby neighborhood. Police searched extensively but couldn’t locate her despite the use of search dogs.

The driver, identified as Joshua Draper, 28, Indianapolis, was wanted on an outstanding warrant for possession of and dealing cocaine, resisting law enforcement and possession of marijuana, police said.

They have not yet identified the woman or provided a description of her.