Clay County Sheriff's Deputy Josh Clarke's police cruiser took an $8,000 beating during early Saturday pursuit.
By IVY HERRON
When a suspect fled police Saturday morning, he also decided to ram a police cruiser, the deputy said. Repairs will cost around $8,000.
"It's a rough estimate," Sheriff Mike Heaton said. "The claim is at the insurance company now. We'll just have to wait and see what happens next. I'm grateful Deputy Clarke wasn't hurt."
On Saturday, Deputy Josh Clarke noticed the brake lights on the BMW Marty W. Deberry, 34, of Indianapolis was driving did not work when he slowed for a turn from S.R. 42 onto C.R. 300 W.
When Clarke turned on the police cruiser's lights, Deberry took off. A few miles later, Clarke, thinking the chase was over, pulled behind Deberry's car and started to get out of the police vehicle.
"I never got a chance to get all the way out of the car," Clarke said.
Unexpectedly, Deberry put the vehicle in reverse and rammed backwards into Clarke's patrol car before driving off again.
"I was stunned at first. He backed up all the way on top of my car," he said. "My only thought was, 'He just hit my car.'"
Clarke, uninjured, continued the pursuit. He said it was difficult because Deberry's brake lights were not working.
Deberry stopped, rammed backwards into Clarke's vehicle and took off again.
The third time he stopped, Clarke drove past the BMW before stopping, but Deberry sideswiped the driver's side of his car before taking off again. Sometime during two more stops, the tie rod was broken on Clarke's vehicle.
"I drove about 10 miles dragging my tire. You can hear it squealing on the tape of the radio traffic," Clarke said. "This has to be the wildest police chase I've ever been involved with. It definitely was worthy of one of those television programs about law enforcement."
Deberry was arrested on preliminary charges of resisting law enforcement, possession of paraphernalia, criminal recklessness, possession of methamphetamine and battery on a law enforcement officer and booked into the Clay County Justice Center with a $50,000 cash bond.
Because the damage was an intentional act, Sheriff Heaton is concerned about the insurance claim and possible costs to repair the vehicle inflicted upon county tax payers.
"It's very aggravating to think about the costs placed upon society and our community because of drugs," he said. "One way or another we're going to try and get back these costs back from this individual. The prosecutor's office has been contacted about restitution proceedings in this case."
Deberry remains in jail awaiting arraignment.