The Starke County Prosecutor’s Office expects to file formal charges today against the Knox man accused of stealing two cars in Starke County and leading police from multiple agencies on a high-speed chase through four counties Friday afternoon.
Gary Chavez, 57, of Knox, is accused of carjacking someone in the Mark Bailey’s Discount Center parking lot Friday afternoon at 3:41 p.m., driving to English Lake, dropping his passenger off and stealing a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee from a home there. The Jeep broke down near Hebron, according to information from the Indiana State Police, who say Chavez stole a 1998 GMC Sierra pickup at gunpoint from two men who stopped to help him. The chase continued into Lake County and ended on Interstate 65 when officers used stop sticks to flatten the truck’s tires. Police say Chavez shot himself as officers approached. He was initially taken to a hospital in Crown Point and then flown to Christ Advocate Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill. The last update we received on his condition indicated he was critical.
Deputies from the Starke County Sheriff’s Department found his estranged wife, Kimberly Chavez, 50, of Portage, dead at a home in California Township. Starke County Coroner Kris Rannells calls her death an “apparent homicide.” A forensic autopsy will be conducted today in Fort Wayne.