A high-speed pursuit that started in LaPorte County just after 9 last night ended near New Buffalo, Mich. when the suspect rolled his SUV. A LaPorte City Police Officer tried to stop a Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by a suspected traffic violator on the downtown overpass. A LaPorte County Sheriff’s Deputy joined the pursuit as the motorist fled north on Pine Lake Avenue and eventually north onto State Road 39 past the city limits.
The driver then broke the cross arm on the west entrance to the Indiana Toll Road, according to a sheriff’s department news release and continued to the 22 mile marker near Portage at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. At that point police say he did a U turn and headed east. He allegedly got off the toll road at the 49 mile marker, broke the cross arm and turned north onto State Road 39. A Michigan State Line Sheriff’s Sergeant used a pursuit intervention technique to stop the vehicle. It caused the driver to lose control of the SUV and slide off the west side of State Road 239 just south of New Buffalo, Mich. It rolled twice before coming to rest on its roof in a water-filled ditch.
The lone occupant, Leroy Michael Cortez, 47, was arrested by the Berrien County Sheriff’s Police on a preliminary charge of driving while intoxicated. The LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department and LaPorte Police plan to file numerous charges against Cortez and seek his extradition. Cortez refused medical treatment at the crash site and was medically cleared at a nearby hospital before being taken to jail.