INDIANAPOLIS — One person is dead and two others are injured following a violent crash on the near northeast side Wednesday night.
According to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, just before 6 p.m. a North District officer tried to stop a driver for an alleged traffic violation in between the 2300 and 2400 blocks of E. 38th Street.
The driver, according to police, didn’t stop and fled from the officer at a high rate of speed. A short distance later, the driver failed to stop at a traffic light, went through the intersection and struck three other vehicles.
IMPD said the officer that attempted to pull over the driver did not pursue the vehicle when it fled.
“This is a heavily traveled area. We don’t want to put the public in harm, so that’s why the officer did not pursue the suspect vehicle, in hopes that vehicle would slow down and realize the officer is not pursuing you, but unfortunately, that did not happen,” William Young, IMPD’s public information officer, told crews at the scene.
Surveillance video taken from a nearby business shows the vehicle speeding as it approached the intersection of 38th St. and Keystone Ave., narrowly missing a van before slamming into several other vehicles.
In total, the crash involved four vehicles, including the one that caused it, IMPD said. A man was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said he was the only person in his car.
The driver accused of causing the crash was taken to the hospital in critical condition, while the passenger of his vehicle was taken to the hospital in serious but stable condition. Nobody in the other two vehicles involved was taken to the hospital, police said. They were evaluated on scene and released.
“It’s very frustrating any time someone loses their life senselessly, it didn’t have to happen,” said Young.
“That was devastating. It was really, really bad,” said Simone White, who lives and works a short distance from the site of the crash.
White said she sees drivers speeding and acting erratically too often. She’s devastated for the family of the victim that this crash is serving as a reminder of what can happen if you disobey traffic laws.
“Just trying to get home, make it home or wherever they needed to be and I tell you the only thing I can do is pray for that family,” said White.
“They’re not respecting people in the cars, they’re just thinking about what they have to do and where they have to go,” she said.
White said she is frustrated that people continue to speed in the area, which is heavily congested at certain times of the day, and currently under construction.
“It’s a mess. Between the hours of 3 and 6 it’s the busiest,” said White. “They’re just switching lanes, back and forth, you know.”
White said she’s also been involved in an accident on 38th Street in her short distance to and from work, and has also witnessed several crashes in front of the business where she works.
“Maybe if they’re out right now they should be going like 20. They are driving 40 to 55 miles an hour straight down,” said White. “This is a really serious problem out here.”
“I always felt that they should have another traffic light between 37th St. and Fall Creek,” said White.
Back in October, FOX59 spoke with IMPD about its district-by-district approach to tackling the issue of unsafe driving, street racing and everything that goes along with it.
IMPD said on North District, along the 38th Street corridor — especially around the Crown Hill neighborhood — there has been an increased effort to have officers on stationary patrol to help deter drivers from engaging in reckless behavior on the roads.
In October, IMPD told FOX59 that primarily along the 38th Street corridor is where a lot of the traffic complaints are coming from. It’s also been the site of several fatalities over the last couple of years and, sadly, another one here.
Although the crash is still under investigation and authorities have not announced any charges in the crash, it’s clear in the video that the driver did not stop as he approached the light, striking several other vehicles.
“It takes a toll on our officers especially,” said Young. “If you can imagine officers trying to do their job and the vehicle doesn’t stop and it leads to someone being seriously hurt or death, that takes a toll on the officer.”
IMPD said the area is heavily traveled and was busy at the time of the crash. The department is asking anyone with information to call police if you saw what happened.