Police: Illinois man stole Dodge Caravan, led police on high-speed chase in southern Indiana

Matthew Kuecher

JACKSON COUNTY, Ind. – An Illinois man is accused of carjacking a vehicle in Columbus before leading police on a chase into Jackson County that exceeded speeds of 100 mph.

Officers with the Columbus Police Department were dispatched around 12 p.m. Sunday to a gas station in the 3300 block of West Jonathan Moore Pike in response to a carjacking. A driver said a man approached him with his hand in his jacket, making it look like he had a gun. The man threatened to hurt the driver if he didn’t give him his keys.

The driver handed over the keys to his Dodge Caravan, and the suspect took off from the gas station parking lot. An Indiana State Police trooper eventually spotted the van going south on I-65 near the 44 mile marker. Attempts to get the vehicle to stop proved unsuccessful, and the van continued at speeds of over 100 mph, police said.

The driver then exited at mile marker 36 and ended up on U.S. 31. He pulled over and was taken into custody without further incident.

Police identified the driver as Matthew Kuechner, 33, Orland Park, Ill. He was taken to the Bartholomew County Jail on preliminary charges of auto theft, intimidation and battery. He’s also expected to face charges in Jackson County, including resisting law enforcement and reckless driving.