2011-07-12 / Front Page

Early Saturday Morning Police Chase Ends In Death Of Driver; 19-Year-Old Passenger Injured

Police Pursuit Reached Speeds Of Ninety Miles Per Hour On S.R. 42W
Staff Report

A nearly 30-minute police chase early Saturday morning in northwestern Owen County resulted in a one-car crash, the death of the driver and hospitalization of a passenger.

According to information provided by OCSD Chief Deputy Greg Denny, at 12:34 a.m. Saturday, an Owen County Sheriff’s deputy encountered a suspicious vehicle at the Cunot Community Center.

The deputy made contact with the two occupants, later identified as 56-year-old Tommy Jack Lawson of Poland and Kyal A. Campbell, 19, also of Poland. The two occupants then fled the area in the vehicle westbound on State Road 42.

The deputy attempted to stop the vehicle and a pursuit was initiated, according to the report.

The vehicle continued west on S.R. 42W at speeds of 25 to 55 miles per hour. At one point, the vehicle left the roadway and upon returning to the roadway, attempted to ram the deputy’s patrol vehicle, the report indicates.

The fleeing vehicle continued west on S.R. 42 into Poland, in Clay County, where it turned around and began traveling eastbound on S.R. 42, reaching speeds of nearly 90 miles per hour.

Approximately three miles east of Poland, the vehicle went out of control in the westbound lane. The vehicle overturned and then came to rest upright off of the roadway.

The driver, Lawson, was trapped under the vehicle, the report indicates, and died at the scene. The passenger in the vehicle, Campbell, sustained undetermined injuries and was transported to Putnam County Hospital by an Owen County EMS unit.

Lawson and his passenger were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, authorities indicated.

According to Indiana State Polie Public Information Officer Sgt. Curt Durnil, Lawson was the suspect in a drunk driving investigation when his 1989 Jaguar was stopped at the Cunot Community Center shortly after midnight on Saturday. He reportedly fled the area, leading the pursuit for about a half hour before he lost control on S.R. 42 near Owl Hollow Road and went through a ditch for several hundred feet before overturning and coming to a stop.

Agencies assisting at the scene included Owen County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division, Indiana State Police, Owen Count EMS, Owen County Rescue Team, Poland Fire Department and Owen County Coroner’s Office.

The crash is being investigated by the Indiana State Police District 33 in Bloomington.

Toxicology reports are pending.

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