COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (WANE) – A Columbia City man has been charged after leading police on a high speed chase and crashing his vehicle into the local license branch, according to police.
Danny C. Rose, 20, is charged with auto theft, resisting law enforcement, criminal mischief, and reckless driving. He’s being held on $27,500 bond in the Whitley County Jail.
Around 10:30 p.m. Monday, officers with the Whitley County Sheriff's Department became involved in a vehicle pursuit on County Road 400 North. Additional officers from the Columbia City Police Department also became involved.
After a high speed pursuit of approximately four miles, witnesses said Rose was south on Liberty Drive at a high rate of speed when he failed to turn at an intersection and entered the parking lot of the Whitley County BMV office. The vehicle crashed through the side of the brick building and a window.
The vehicle went through the branch about forty feet before slamming into an opposite wall next to an insurance office.
"It came in about about 70 miles per hour and hit all the way into our wall," Natalie Chevalier, the owner of the damaged American Family Insurance branch, said.
"It came in about about 70 miles per hour and hit all the way into our wall," Natalie Chevalier, the owner of the damaged American Family Insurance branch, said."It couldn't have hit into a better spot though. It managed to miss all our computers and everything."
Chevalier said the Whitley County Sheriff's Department called her shortly after midnight Tuesday morning and asked her to come to her business to assess the damage.
"I wasn't sure what to expect, Chevalier recalled when she first saw the scene. "It could have been horrible if it would have happened during the day. It couldn't have been at a better time. It's still an unfortunate event, but I think everything will be okay. Everything is repairable."
Roger Diehm, the owner of the building, said several license branch workers would have been directly in the area where the vehicle entered the building had the crash happened during the day.
"Very fortunate this happened later at night," Columbia City Police Chief Tim Longenbaugh said. "If this would have happened during business hours, it would have been much different. That's the good thing I guess that there's no injuries, only to the suspect who had only minor injuries."
Longenbaugh said Rose was taken to the Parkview Whitley Hospital for his injuries, before he was taken to the jail.
Police said Rose sustained injuries to his legs. An officer at the scene said Rose was alert and speaking with medics and police at the scene.
"It's normally pretty quiet here," Longenbaugh said. "Every now and then we have these things happen. The officers did a good job last night and we're just thankful there weren't any serious injuries."
Rose is being held on $19,500 bond. He is scheduled to be in court on July 29 at 1:30 p.m.
Diehm estimated the damage was probably more than $50,000.
License materials were strewn all over the building, including registration stickers, temporary tags, vehicle weight and identification stickers, and other office items. Several computers were damaged and parts of the ceiling were hanging down in the area where the vehicle entered the building.
Electrical lines, phone and computer lines, and water pipes were also exposed in the ceiling and walls.
Diehm didn't have an estimate how long the repairs would take. Diehm owns a construction business, Diehm Construction, which will make all the repairs.
A woman who identified herself as the branch manager said officials from Indianapolis will visit Columbia City Tuesday morning to assess the damage.
According to Josh Gillespie, the executive director of communications with the Indiana BMV, the Whitley County license branch will be closed the rest of this week, and maybe closed at the start of next week.
Anyone needing to use the branch can use the following offices:
Anyone needing to use the branch can use the following offices:
- Albion - 113 West Jefferson Street - open Tuesday and Thursday.
- Fort Wayne (Waynedale) - 6721 Old Trail Road, Suite 300 - open Tuesday through Saturday.
- Fort Wayne (Pine Valley) - 10204 Coldwater Road - open Tuesday through Saturday.
- Huntington - 2982 West Park Drive - open Tuesday through Saturday.
- Warsaw - 2888 Frontage Road - open Tuesday through Saturday.
Customers with questions or concerns about the temporary closure of the office should call the BMV Contact Center at 888-692-6841.
The incident remains under investigation.
The Columbia City Police Department, Whitley County Sheriff's Department, Indiana State Police, Columbia City Fire Department and Whitley County EMS assisted at the scene.
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