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Driver arrested following chase

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A high-speed pursuit ended in a single-vehicle accident at the split of United States 40 and County Road 340 West Wednesday, which resulted in the arrest of the driver.

According to a press release issued by the Clay County Sheriff's Department, Karen L. Guess, 40, Brazil, was arrested for resisting law enforcement in a vehicle, battery by bodily waste to law enforcement, indecent exposure and disorderly conduct.

The press release stated additional charges are pending because of an ongoing investigation.

According to the press release, CCSD Patrol Sgt. Dan Best was dispatched to 6920 W. US 40 to investigate a criminal complaint that came across shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday.

During the investigation, Guess resisted arrest and fled the scene in a 1993 Pontiac Grand Am, according to the press release.

During the fleeing, the release stated Guess attempted to "hit or run over" Best twice.

The release states that Guess fled the scene and headed east bound on US 40, but the pursuit came to an end after Guess attempted to avoid stop sticks that CCSD officials had deployed on the road.

According to the release, Guess lost control of her vehicle and crashed into a utility pole north of the intersection of Jackson Street and US 40 in Brazil.

The release stated Guess was transported to St. Vincent Clay Hospital for injuries sustained during the crash.

However, according to the press release, while being treated at the hospital, Guess battered two nurses and Best with blood.

The release stated Guess was released from the hospital and immediately taken into custody at the Clay County Justice Center.

Other agencies assisting at the scene included the Brazil City Police Department, Indiana State Police, Brazil City Fire Department, Clay County Search and Rescue and TransCare Ambulance.

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How disgusting to spit on someone!

This woman drove at a very high rate of speed past my husband on his way home in the storm. I agree that these pursuits are dangerous but what else is the officer supposed to do? Let them flee? I am sure there is a solution. I just dont have one.

In the mean time, people just need to follow the laws.

I am curious why she was fleeing and what caused this outrageous behavior.

And Bigpappy... 2 can play your game. You have given enough clues that I am fairly sure I know your identity. Use to work at ME? RIGHT???

-- Posted by madmom61 on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 9:57 AM

Well a good solution to this problem would be to stop the chase. I highly respect Sgt. Best but when you are going 100 mph towards town you should stop. Think of the hundreds of live they could put in danger for going that fast through town. He responded to a residence so he or someone there knew this lady. Just let her go then drive by where she lives or places she may be you will eventually get her. The only reason I would chase someone like that if they had kids or another person they were holding hostage. Is it going to take another high speed chase related death before our Sheriff and police chief decide to put better protocol's in place. When I lived in Charleston, SC to engage in a chase the had to request permission from a supervisor. This was put into effect when a Charleston city patrolman started a chase it ended in the death of the person he was chasing. The family sued the City of Charleston and won...I know it is ridiculous but that is the way our system is set up. I could get sued by someone that breaks into my house and breaks his leg while he's inside. It has happened before and I am sure it will happen again...So what? Are we going to let another high speed chase death happen again? Probably... Mike Heaton, Terry Harrison this is your time to act prevent this from happening.

-- Posted by BranSciotto on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 10:53 AM

Ummm, I don't see anything in the report that would indicate this 40-year old woman "spit" on the officer(s). It says "battery by bodily waste to law enforcement, indecent exposure" .. bodily waste could be considered urine or feces. Either way .. I'd rather be spit on! Ugh.

This is a 40-year old woman, for heavens sake! I don't care whether she was drunk or on drugs, who acts like this at ANY age, much less 40? Crimeny!

At least they stopped her before she hurt someone. People like this need to stay home if they want to hurt themselves. Geez!

-- Posted by Emmes on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 10:54 AM

Just another story to prove the facts! Why does everyone always want to blame to police or sheriffs department for others stupidity? I swear the people of Clay Co need to wake up. STOP blaming the police, sheriff and fire departments for everones lack of COMMON sense! Why do people blam the Fire Department for kids burning a house down? Why do you blame the Sheriff for Chaseing someone who tried to kill a deputy? Why do blame the the police dept for arresting someone who just left a bar drunk?

You are the same people who have NO CLUE how to correct your kids...how about we put the paddle back in school? You people complain the departments dont DO their job..THEN complain when they DO THEIR JOB!

Most of you think these departments are babysitters! Its time for many of you to take some responsiblity for your own life and stop being WELFARE DRAMA QUEENS!

-- Posted by WhyInBrazil on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 12:37 PM

Spit, poop, urine... it is all sick and a 40 year old woman should know better! A 4 year old woman should know better!

-- Posted by madmom61 on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 12:52 PM

However, according to the press release, while being treated at the hospital, Guess battered two nurses and Best with blood.

sorry I guess it was blood. Even grosser

-- Posted by madmom61 on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 1:02 PM

Third paragraph up from bottom, it was blood.

-- Posted by timetomoveon on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 1:03 PM

Sorry madmom61, we must have been typing at the same time :)

-- Posted by timetomoveon on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 1:04 PM

Probably... Mike Heaton, Terry Harrison this is your time to act prevent this from happening.

-- Posted by BranSciotto on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 10:53 AM

Not a wise thing to throw blame when you are running for office!!!

-- Posted by madmom61 on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 1:14 PM

To madmom61: Clay county and Brazil city have great departments for our small community. Yes they have their strong and weak areas of the departments. So I am not throwing any blame. I am just saying that they need to step up before something bad happens. They are chasing people over ridiculous reasons. What if she made it into downtown and killed someone or more than one. One the other hand they could have pulled back she may have slowed down and taken a county road. Then hide out somewhere for a while. They would eventually catch her. That is my point. They need to look into it to make it safer for the people running from the law, the officers, and most importantly the citizens of Clay county. For example back in december Brazil city officer Kenny Hill was involved in a high speed chase. He knew who the person was and had a bad accident during the chase. If he knew who it was he could have called off the chase and may not have gotten in the accident. As I said put protocols in place to make it safer for everyone.

To unoit: The only reason I think that they should chase people with kids in the car is if they have threatened to kill them. Are you going to take the risk of chasing them and hoping you get them stopped before something happens. Or let them go and hope the person doesn't take them somewhere and kill them there. That was my meaning on that. I apologize I should have clarified in my first statement.

-- Posted by BranSciotto on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 3:17 PM

The police protcols are excellent, so when someone tries to run an officer over, they can expect to be pursued. Even when they are known....

Once someone decides to run, they usually keep running, and fast, even when the police are not in sight.

Brazil PD deployed the stop sticks at Jackson and US40 to keep the suspect from entering the congested area of town, which was bumper to bumper because of the traffic signals being out. The stop sticks were effective and the vehicle was stopped immediately, preventing anyone from being hurt.

It is a safe bet that most people would decide to drive at a high rate of speed, if they thought that the police would not attempt to stop them...??

Spit can contain communicable diseases, so this is why people are charged with battery by bodily waste.

Every police agency in this county puts the safety of the residents as their number #1 priority.

-- Posted by BOYINBLUE on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 3:57 PM

BranSciotto what if they just didnt chase this obviosly unstable person and she drove into town where there was no traffic lights because of the storm and traffic was backed up and smashed into a couple of vehicle and killed a innocent person(s)? Then Mr. Sciotto would you still have the same opinion or would your Monday morning quarterback opinion change. You might have your opinion and you are entilted to that opinion but you have all the time in the world to decide what you would do. Sgt Best and the rest of the great law enforcement officers dont have the luxury like you, they had to make a split second decision. And when the law breaker tried to run over a cop and kill him she needs chased down and put in jail for a long time. But the way i read your post you are for letting someone that tries to kill our law enforcement and batters them you think it is alright to let them get away with it. Maybe if you like the way the the cops work or the way they dont work in South Carolina maybe you should go back there and live. Maybe run for office there. But i really dont think it is a good idea to run for office in clay county then talk bad about the sheriff and his department. Sheriff Heaton and the Clay County deputies keep up the good work.

-- Posted by BigCB20 on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 4:47 PM

BranSciotto i further read that you bring up Kenny Hill being in a pursuit and talking about that situation. Maybe you need to try out for a law enforcement position since you like to talk bad about the law officers that protect this county. But my guess is you dont have the back bone to do what these guys do day in and day out. I would much rather have a cop with back bone protecting the county and my family. Then somebody that is all mouth and wont do anything about the problem. Keep up the great work CCSD and BPD.

-- Posted by BigCB20 on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 4:54 PM

this woman needs should serve time for her actions, see how tough she thinks she is when on the inside. She's not fit to run loose in town or anywhere else. But the police do tend to overkill situations like this chase. The plate could have tracked the car owner and if that person wasn't at the wheel they should know who was. Meaning she would have been caught without endangering others.

-- Posted by levr.gar on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 6:55 PM

I'm sorry, but driving 55-75 mph on I-70 scares the crap out of me. I can't imagine driving 100 mph anywhere! But then again, I'm a law-abiding citizen who is apparently not having any problems with my mental faculties.

Although she might have been having some type of emotional problems, the police did their job and stopped this woman before she could do harm to anyone but herself.

They even scrambled to help her after the accident!! I think it is amazing to see these officers go from the mindset of "stopping a suspect" to "helping a victim" within seconds. (KUDOS guys!)

If they had let this woman, who apparently doesn't care about her own safety or anyone else's, "get away" and drive straight into backed up traffic in Brazil, it would have been complete carnage.

Ten to 20 cars could have been involved in the accident. (Which isn't exaggerated, I was waiting in that line of traffic when this happened, with a carload of children.) Countless people of all ages could have been injured, maybe even killed by this woman who wanted nothing more to do than get away from authorities.

How many of you would be having a fit on this message board about the lack of law enforcement in this county if that had happened?

Who among you would have said, "How dare they endanger so many lives by letting this woman go?"

Instead, the woman was not capable of handling a car at those speeds while evading capture and wrecked. From the looks of it, she banged her head on the steering column.

I hate to be so callous, but so what? We can't argue about "what if she died" because she didn't. She walked away from the accident and no one else was hurt.

Whether emotionally stable or not, that wasn't good enough for her. At the hospital, she throws blood on two nurses and the officer, endangering the lives of the same people who are trying to take care of her!

Apparently she is unstable, and I pray that she gets whatever help she needs. But she also has to pay for all that she has done wrong.

She endangered everyone by her choices, while the police did their job.

But, for me, the most important thing to remember is that there are three people who have to worry and wander if they have been given a disease. I pray they haven't!

-- Posted by Cy on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 7:36 PM

PUBLIC NUDITY NECESSITATES HIGH SPEED CHASES?! Here are some figures copied and pasted from other websites...

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 314 people were killed during pursuits in 1998. Of this total, 2 were police officers and 198 were individuals being chased. The remaining 114 were either occupants of unrelated vehicles or pedestrians. (6) The total was higher in each of the 4 previous years.

Some research indicates that police pursuits result in about 350 deaths per year and the number of pursuits increases each year. (4) One organization estimates that about 2,500 persons die each year as a result of police pursuits and that another 55,000 are injured

-- Posted by yubantode on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 7:47 PM


I think the issue isn't public nudity it's that she tried to run an officer over.

I understand what you are saying about the pursuit statistics, but there is another side that you can't get away from. If police do not pursue how many people would die from every criminal simply running because they know they can get away? Wouldn't crime skyrocket, wouldn't more innocents die?

To the people who get personal to make their point, it simply isn't necessary and does not add to the conversation. You do not have to get personal to disagree. It does not help your argument either.

-- Posted by localgal on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 8:49 PM

So, if I am to get this right, some of you want no police pursuits and some of you want it only when you think it is appropriate in your opinion? Go through the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy and become an officer and don't do anything when a subject is fleeing from you. You know that in your years of experience, these people don't care who they hurt. You, the officer knows that when they run from you, you are going to be judged by the public either way the pursuit goes. If you catch them and someone gets hurt, you are an "out of control rogue officer who needs to be rained in". If they get away, you are incapable of doing your job. If you don't pursue them and they commit another crime, you are just a "lazy donut eatin' cop".

You have got to be kidding me...people wake up and get a grip! These officers put their lives in danger every time they get in that patrol car. Cut them some slack and be supportive. Until you do the job, you can't judge their actions. A police officer surely wouldn't tell a doctor how and when to do surgery or tell a TV reporter how to report the news. Want to learn something? Ask to do a ride along! Rant Off

-- Posted by RickS on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 9:01 PM

yubantode- I don't believe that the pursuit was started for public nudity. Sgt. Best was at the residence investigating a complaint of public nudity when the suspect tried to kill him twice when she intentionally attempted to run over him. Sgt. Best pursued her due to the felony crime, not public nudity.

You mentioned some facts from the NHTSA which is a great source for crash facts. According to your numbers around 116 innocent people (non participants in the pursuit and police) are killed a year in the nation as a result of pursuits. Obviously even one innocent person killed is a tragedy, but I guess we need to put things in perspective.

Another NHTSA report reveals that in 2006 there were 13,543 lives lost due to speed related accidents. Speeding was a contributing factor in 31 percent of all fatal crashes. The top contributing factor to fatal crashes according to the NHTSA in 2006 was intoxicated driving. In 2006, according to NHTSA, 17,602 people died in alcohol related traffic crashes; however 41% or about 7,216 of those alcohol related deaths also showed speeding as a contributing factor in the crash. So we have well over 20,000 people killed in a year in the USA due entirely or partially to speed.

These 20,000 + people died as a result of speed with no police officer chasing them. If police did not pursue vehicles do you think this figure would go down? I doubt that it would. If citizens knew that the police would not chase them don't you think that some people who only obey the law out of fear of being punished would regularly break the law and speed? If police were not allowed to purse I see no way that the number of innocent lives previously lost as a result of pursuits would not be eclipsed by the number of new/additional deaths as a result of speeding.

-- Posted by Unsolicited opinion on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 9:05 PM

The following comments are my personal opinion and should not be construed as being the opinion or work product of any law enforcement or emergency service agency.

Brandon- first of all I would like to say that the Brazil City Police Department and the Clay County Sheriff's Department are great departments for ANY size of community. Secondly, you should not criticize anybody else for jeopardizing the safety of the public until you clean up your own driving, both in your personal vehicle and the Search and Rescue vehicle. You need to learn how to properly handle your limited responsibilities before you try to tell grown, educated, well trained men how to run their departments.

You mentioned that in Charleston, SC a supervisor had to grant permission for a pursuit, what do you think Sgt. Best is? -- he is the shift supervisor. At the time the pursuit started, Sgt. Best, who is 10 + year veteran of the Clay County Sheriff's Department and a 13 year veteran of Law Enforcement, was the senior officer on duty for the Sheriff's Department. Sgt. Best, who a few years ago received the honor of being named "Deputy Sheriff of the Year" for the entire state of Indiana by the Indiana Sheriff's Association, is an experienced instructor and field training officer. If any officer would know when to begin a pursuit and how to carry it out, it would be Sgt. Best.

The Clay County Sheriff's Department and Brazil City Police both have pursuit policies that are both safe and responsible. Sgt. Best followed policy for the pursuit and acted in a proper manner. Before Sgt. Best even began the pursuit, the suspect twice attempted run over him-- so much for driving by where she lives to get her as you suggested. Sgt. Best followed policy when he pursued the suspect and called for help in getting her to stop. I'm not sure if it didn't make it into the press release or was left out of the news story, but prior to coming into the city Sgt. Best did back off from the vehicle he was pursuing, and the vehicle was not going 100 mph when she crashed.

The Brazil City Police were able to move traffic out of the way of danger and put out stop sticks prior to the vehicle reaching other traffic. The suspect created a dangerous situation and the officers involved, following proper policy, made the situation as safe as possible.

You and some others like to make comments like "So what? Are we going to let another high speed chase death happen again?" when referring to the policy of the Brazil City Police and the Clay County Sheriff's Department, and specifically addressing the Sheriff and Chief of Police. You need to realize that the death on I-70 occurred after the pursuit ended, the death was not due to a vehicle crash; the Wright/Siples pursuit and crash did not involve BPD or CCSD, the Indiana State Police, who did nothing wrong, was the agency in pursuit in that case. Sheriff Heaton and Chief Harrison have proper policies in place and have well trained men in place to carry out their duties.

One thing has been made clear to me through your statements: you are quick to jump to conclusions and to point blame where there is none - You think that you know more than you really do, you have no clue about how law enforcement really works and you have zero knowledge of policy-- these are probably characteristics common among very young adults like you, but they are not characteristics that Clay County needs in a County Coroner; that position is too important and investigations can be ruined by inexperienced people who think know better than everybody else.

-- Posted by Unsolicited opinion on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 9:56 PM

madmom61.......Love the game!!! Nope on the ME, but I'm fairly sure you do/did. If you DID, then I simply have to know you, but if you DO, then it's possible I'm off target. I do know a good number of teachers and IA's though throughout the corporation. I've been around a long time....much longer than you. I know that because you have two daughters of middle school/high school age, and I don't.

We do agree on this subject, however, which is a bit of a shocker! If you remember, I suggested a couple of months ago that you contact Central Office to get restroom rights restored at North Clay. When "the game" is over and our identities exposed, perhaps we will both laugh at how we disagree on some points but how we have strong beliefs that are the same on other issues! I've stopped short of contacting some of my "friends" at ME to get some inside help towards narrowing down my search, but it's more fun to solve it on one's own. So, I shall keep reading and thinking!!

Unsolicited opinion......I LOVE your thinking! You have your facts straight and back them with clear, concise sentences that make complete sense!

-- Posted by Bigpappy on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 10:34 PM

Sorry Bigp I do not work at ME and I do not have 2 high school age daughters.

I am baffeled by you. I was sure I knew who you were and now am at a loss. OH well,

let the games continue

And I am guessing that we both want what we feel is best for kids and our community. We may agree on more than you think!

-- Posted by madmom61 on Fri, Jun 6, 2008, at 8:09 AM

And why do you simply have to know me if I worked at ME??? And by the fact that you know what that abbreviation is makes me know you are in the education business.


-- Posted by madmom61 on Fri, Jun 6, 2008, at 9:01 AM

Man Bran Sciotto You opened a big old can of worms!!!

-- Posted by madmom61 on Fri, Jun 6, 2008, at 10:41 AM

madmom.....Yep, I am definitely in the educating business in some form or another. I know, you have been or are currently involved in the same (the ME notation was a give away). You mentioned at one time of having 20 years experience in special needs. That's why I was pretty sure you were HN who used to be HP. I knew you had two daughters, but not of high school age...middle school. We had a brief "discussion" concerning a particular city principal, and we were in total disagreement there. But, for the most part, I do think our thoughts run pretty much in synch......better schools for our kids and our community! We simply do not agree on what it takes to make things better.

Can't wait to solve the riddle!!!! Until then, have a wonderful day!

-- Posted by Bigpappy on Fri, Jun 6, 2008, at 11:53 AM

The following comments are my personal opinion and should not be construed as being the opinion or work product of any law enforcement or emergency service agency.

I just wanted to say that Sgt. Best is one person I highly respect and look up to. His decision to go on this pursuit is very justifiable.

Listen folks, don't be putting law enforcement down unless you've been in the shoes. They are here to help you and do just that!

Sheriff Heaton and Chief Harrison are doing an excellent job.

-- Posted by Unsolicitedtidbits on Fri, Jun 6, 2008, at 4:33 PM

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