State trooper dodges car just seconds before it can hit him

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PERU, Ind. -- An Indiana State trooper walked away unscathed after police believe a woman intentionally hit his car.

On Tuesday morning around 1 a.m., a chase by the Cass County Sheriff's Office ended when a woman crashed into the back of an Indiana State Police car.

Police said the driver, Melissa Smith, failed to stop and drove away from officers for nearly 20 minutes.

Trooper Andrew Smith helped deputies during the pursuit. He blocked an intersection and was preparing to deploy stop sticks.

"That moment that mini van for whatever reason turned and came right at me and the rear of my car," he said.

That's when Trooper Smith jumped out of the way. He said he narrowly missed getting hit. He was not injured and he feels very lucky to be alive.

"Very lucky," Trooper Smith said. "It could have gone any number of ways.  Had she been going a little faster, steered a little harder, or lost control even."

Trooper Smith said her car caught fire but officers were able to pull her out.

On Tuesday, state police said preliminary evidence showed Melissa Smith crashed into the police car on purpose. She was transported to a hospital before she was booked into jail.

Melissa Smith faces preliminary charges of resisting arrest and operating while intoxicated.

"It is angering, obviously. It is frustrating to think that someone would do that," Trooper Smith said.

Most of all, he is relieved to be back home with his wife and 1-year-old daughter.

"It was emotional for a while just because I realized how close I was to not being able to come back and see her," he said.

The crash happened in District 14. That is where Trooper Peter Stephan died in a car crash last October.

Trooper Smith explained he immediately made a call on his radio to let state police know he was ok. The last thing he wanted was for his department to think another tragedy had occurred.

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