Police say charges pending against shoplifter accused of punching officer at Kroger

Juanita Scanlan

Juanita Scanlan

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Charges are pending against a woman accused of shoplifting alcohol from an Indianapolis Kroger store and punching a police officer.

The woman, identified Thursday as 45-year-old Juanita Scanlan, then jumped into a car that was later involved in a crash. The vehicle hit a utility pole and flipped; police said Scanlan ran from the crash scene while the driver, 28-year-old Joshua Draper, was critically hurt.

Court documents shed more light on what happened during the encounter at Kroger. The officer tried to arrest Scanlan, but she ran off. The officer grabbed for her hair, but she was able to get away because she was wearing a wig. They scuffled on the ground in the parking lot, with Scanlan “contorting her body and flailing her arms and legs” in an effort to escape, court documents said.

She got up and the officer chased after her. He took out his Tazer and told her he would use it if she failed to comply. At that point, Scanlan jumped into Draper’s car. Before they took off, the officer managed to cuff Scanlan’s left hand. Scanlan, who’d jumped on Draper’s lap, shifted the car into drive and yelled for him to “get out of here!”

The car sped off and later crashed. Police found Draper injured inside, but there was no sign of Scanlan, who’d run away. Police conducted a large search but couldn’t find her despite the use of police dogs.

Later on Wednesday, police received a call from a person who said they found an injured person sitting in his car. When police arrived, they found Scanlan with a towel wrapped around her leg and a tear in her leggings. She appeared to have injuries to her legs, ankles and feet, court documents said.

The driver didn’t know who she was. Scanlan wouldn’t identify herself, according to a police report, and said she’d had an argument with a friend and jumped out of a vehicle. The responding officer realized she matched the description of the shoplifter in the earlier case. They found the handcuffs in a yard in the 1300 block of 77th Street.

Medics said Scanlan later gave them a fake name. The inside of the driver’s car was covered in blood, according to court documents.

Charges against Scanlan include theft, resisting law enforcement and fleeing law enforcement. She was still at Eskenazi Hospital recovering from injuries she suffered in the crash and has not yet been booked.

Editor’s note: a previous version of this story used an incorrect photo provided by IMPD. That error has been corrected.