ST. JOSEPH COUNTY – A Plymouth man is in jail after he led police on a wild chase that started in South Bend and ended in Mishawaka.
South Bend Police said 27-year-old Duane Longacre was wanted in Marshall County for two stolen cars and a handgun. But early Tuesday morning, the man threw police for a loop.
Police said this all started when they tried to pull over Longacre at 25th Street and Mishawaka Avenue in South Bend.
Police said they recognized the car as one of the stolen ones out of Marshall County. When Longacre didn’t stop, the pursuit started down Mishawaka Avenue.
The chase only lasted a few minutes, but in that time the suspect was doing more than just trying to ditch police.
"Officers saw him throwing items out of a car," said Captain Phil Trent from the South Bend Police Department.
Specifically, a can of anhydrous ammonia – an ingredient sometimes used in making meth.
A South Bend Police officer was exposed to the fumes during the pursuit, but that officer and his colleague still continued to chase the suspect to a calm street in Mishawaka.
"This is a quiet neighborhood, nothing like this happens," said neighbor Eric Embry.
Police told a neighbor the car was traveling very fast down Pleasant Street. So fast that when it tried to turn the corner onto Wilson Boulevard, it lost control and came up on the sidewalk. The car then cleared a small brick wall on the Mishawaka Riverwalk and went airborne, slamming into a tree.
The car was totaled. Longacre jumped out before it crashed, and took a dive in the river in an effort to run away from police. But he was forced to surrender.
Police pulled him out, he was hospitalized and now he's in jail.
"When I came outside there were police cars all lined up over here," Embry said.
On Tuesday afternoon, the site of the crash was still drawing attention. Neighbors said it's because people are stunned this happened so close to home.
“I'm glad they got the bad guy," Embry said.
The South Bend police officer in the pursuit who was exposed to fumes is Joseph Cole. He was treated and released from the hospital.
Police said there was a 21-year-old woman from Plymouth in suspect's car. They said she asked Longacre to stop running from police. When he didn't stop, she placed the car – traveling full speed – into park. Then they say she got out of the car and ran to police.
She is not considered a suspect.