INDIANAPOLIS — A driver has been arrested and three others are dead after a police chase ended shortly before a horrific crash at 10th St. and Mithoeffer Rd. Tuesday night.
Indiana State Police said troopers had terminated the pursuit for a Dodge Charger minutes before that same Charger ran a red light going west on 10th St. ISP said the vehicle was speeding and hit a car crossing on Mitthoefer Rd.
“The impact was something I’d never seen,” said Michael Danner. “I thought actually a bomb exploded.”
Danner lives just down 10th Street and said he was watching TV on his couch when the crash happened just before 10 p.m. Tuesday.
“It rocked the house a little bit,” Danner said.
Danner and his mother ran to the front door to see a crumpled Dodge Charger in their driveway with a path of destruction behind it, including another car that had been hit.
“The whole car was engulfed in flames,” said Danner.
The Doggie Spa business across the street captured video of the crash. Showing what appears to be a piece of the car rolling into the parking lot.
Danner and another neighbor from across the street ran outside to try and help.
“We were trying to grab the door and pull it open, but it was too hot,” said Danner.
Danner’s neighbor had a fire extinguisher and used it moments before first responders got to the scene.
“He got the extinguisher down in the car and got all of that out,” Danner said.
The neighbor with the fire extinguisher wasn’t home when we knocked on his door but the fire extinguisher was still sitting on his front porch.
Just up 10th St., you could still see where the car that was hit had come to a stop. Car parts and broken glass littered the parking lot just off the intersection.
Danner and his neighbor hurried down to the car to see if they could help.
“We went down and tried to open the door down here and, unfortunately, it was too late,” Danner said.
Indiana State Police said this all started with a traffic stop about 15 minutes earlier and only a block over from the crash.
Troopers tried to pull over the Dodge Charger for reckless driving near East Washington St. and Mitthoeffer Rd. but the Charger didn’t stop and a chase started.
The chase stretched into Hancock County where ISP Sgt. John Perrine said troopers tried to get into place and deploy stopsticks but they were unsuccessful.
“We were trying to get officers in position but because the vehicle that was being chased kept turning on different roads and going in different directions it makes it difficult,” said Perrine.
ISP said when the driver started heading back into Indianapolis, troopers decided to stop the chase.
“Due to the reckless and egregious driving, the troopers made the decision to disengage from that pursuit,” Perrine said.
Just a few minutes later, is when ISP said the crash at the intersection of 10th St. and Mitthoeffer Rd. occurred.
State Police Superintendent Doug Carter called it a very violent collision.
“They called that pursuit off, why did they call it off?” Carter said. “Because it’s dangerous for everybody involved, especially those not involved in it.”
The driver of the car crossing 10th Street, 21-year-old Makayla Hankins, was killed.
The two passengers in the Dodge Charger, 14-year-old Christian Leyba-Gonzalez and 31-year-old Jose Gonzalez were also killed.
The only survivor was the driver of the Charger, 19-year-old Luis Leyba-Gonzalez. He is now charged with resisting law enforcement causing death.
“It’s heartbreaking, its evident that high speed and disregard for traffic lights is what caused this crash,” Perrine said.
When asked if this deadly result could created a change in the ISP pursuit policy, Perrine said ISP is under constant evaluation.
“Every incident is evaluated through the reporting process, through the review process, by the command, by the training division, so that process is happening now,” he said.
Neighbors said besides the circumstances around this crash, 10th St is no stranger to fast drivers. They’re hoping this serves as a warning to people to slow down.