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Police identify suspect in east side pursuit, multi-vehicle crash

Phil White

LAWRENCE, Ind. — Police are investigating after a chase led to a crash Sunday morning.

Gary Woodruff, a deputy chief with the Lawrence Police Department tells CBS4 it all started with a stolen car spotted by a Lawrence officer near Pendleton Pike and I-465. A pursuit ensued when the driver refused to stop for officers.

Police identified the suspect Monday as Phil White, 45, of Indianapolis. He faces preliminary charges of auto theft, criminal recklessness, and resisting law enforcement.

“Ultimately, it’s very simple,” said Woodruff. “If the police try to stop you, pull over.”

Police chased the driver more than five miles throughout the east side until the driver crashed near 10th and Post Road, involving five vehicles.

“We’re constantly balancing that—public safety versus safely apprehending someone,” said Woodruff.

Ten people, including the suspect, were taken to area hospitals. All but the suspect and the driver and passenger of one of the cars hit were released. The driver is in critical condition, and the other victims are now stable.

“Even though there were some injuries there, it certainly could’ve been a lot worse,” said Woodruff.

Woodruff says LPD officials will be conducting a review of the decision-making process during the chase, as is protocol during similar situations.

“The division commander of the officers that were involved, a deputy chief and the chief of police actually responded, so there are multiple layers of oversight,” said Woodruff.

Police said Monday the vehicle had been stolen from a convenience store in the 200 block of West 38th Street. It had been left running unattended.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and Indiana State Police, assisted in the pursuit.