The Knox man police say stole three vehicles and led officers from multiple departments on a high-speed chase through four counties Friday afternoon is still in critical condition at Christ Advocate Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill. The pursuit started in Starke County when Gary Chavez, 57, of Knox, allegedly stole a car at gunpoint from the parking lot at Mark Bailey’s Discount Center.
He stole a second vehicle in English Lake, according to investigators from the Starke County Sheriff’s Department, and took a pickup truck in Hebron from two men who stopped to see if he was having car trouble. That’s what he was driving when police in Lake County used stop sticks to puncture the tires. Chavez shot himself as officers were approaching, according to information released by the Indiana State Police. He was flown to Oak Lawn Friday night from a hospital in Crown Point. After the chase ended, deputies from the Starke County Sheriff’s Department found his estranged wife, Kimberly Chavez, 50, of Portage, dead at his California Township home. Starke County Coroner Kris Rannells calls her death an “apparent homicide” but cannot comment further until a forensic autopsy is completed. The Starke County Prosecutor’s Office is still working on formal charges against Chavez. Nothing has been filed yet in Starke Circuit Court.