Chesterton Tribune


Burglary prompts police chase on I94

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Two Illinois residents were arrested Sunday on multiple charges after allegedly breaking into the Luke Shell station at 6259 U.S. Highway 20 in Portage to steal merchandise and fleeing from police in a high-speed chase on State Road 249 and Interstate 94, Portage Police said.

According to police, at 12:56 a.m. an employee at the Marathon gas station across the street advised police he saw someone climb through a window of the closed Luke Shell station and start grabbing items.

Police said Jerry Allen, 49, of 15737 Hayne Ave. in Harvey, Ill., then exited the parking lot with his passenger Melissa Ann Bourland, 27, of 1612 Wallace in Harvey, Ill., in a white “work-type” van.

Police said an officer attempted a traffic stop after locating the van on SR 249 but the vehicle continued northbound and turned on the westbound entrance ramp for I-94. Near the end of the ramp, the van slowed to a stop and rammed a police vehicle while in reverse before continuing to flee on I-94 at a high rate of speed, police said.

Prior to reaching the Ripley Street exit, police said the van veered left off the road into a grassy area. The vehicle accelerated into a storm ditch, became airborne, and came rolling to a stop in the grass beside the onramp cloverleaf near the SR 51 and I-94 West intersection, police said.

Police said Allen and Bourland got out of the van and took off on foot before officers apprehended them. Allen sustained minor injuries from the crash while Bourland sustained minor lacerations to the face, complained of back pain and requested medical treatment, police said.

A registration check on the van showed it had been reported as stolen on Dec. 10, 2012, by Chicago PD, police said.

Police investigated the scene at Luke Shell and said store employees found taken were 62 to 65 packs of cigarettes, 100 Bic brand lighters, and 40 5-hour energy drink bottles. The cash register drawer containing an estimated $100 was also missing and a black-handled pipe wrench was found on the counter, police said. Video surveillance shows a white van backing into the stone wall with its rear bumper and a male subject breaking through the west window of the business, police said.

Police estimated the total theft amount at $786 and $8,500 in damages.

Allen was charged with burglary, auto theft, fleeing law enforcement, and criminal recklessness. Bourland was charged with burglary, resisting law enforcement, and criminal trespassing. A computer check showed Bourland had two active warrants in East Chicago for prior unrelated incidents, police said.

Both subjects were medically cleared at Portage Hospital and transported to Porter County Jail.


Posted 1/21/2013