A Freetown man fled police by jumping from a bridge into the East Fork White River near Vallonia Monday afternoon and was arrested nearly six hours later.
Josef Tyler Rogers, 27, was arrested nearly 2 miles away from the bridge he jumped from following a vehicle pursuit that began in Brownstown, police said.
Brownstown Police Chief Tom Hanner attempted to stop Rogers at 3:45 p.m. Monday at the intersection of U.S. 50 and County Road 400W in Brownstown.
Hanner said he recognized Rogers and knew he had multiple warrants for his arrest and attempted to stop him. Rogers had warrants for battery resulting in bodily injury, driving while suspended and contempt of court, Jackson County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Andy Wayman said.
Rogers never slowed his green 2000 Volkswagen Jetta, and a pursuit began with speeds reaching 85 miles per hour, Hanner said, until Rogers stopped on the bridge that carries County Road 375W over the river.
Rogers then jumped nearly 40 feet from the bridge into the river.
The river was about 5.5 feet at the time of the incident, according to the National Weather Service. Wayman said officers reported the river was moving swiftly.
Police from Brownstown and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department saw Rogers jump and kept track of him until he flowed into a logjam in the river, Wayman said.
Police feared Rogers drowned and used a boat and sonar unit from South Region Indiana conservation officers and a Jackson County Sheriff’s Department boat to attempt to locate him.
“We were in recovery mode because we didn’t think he’d make it,” Wayman said.
He said police continued to look and drag the river.
Hours later, a local resident called and gave a description that matched Rogers in a field nearby, and police arrested him at 9:57 p.m. at Base Road and County Road 500W, 2 miles from where he jumped into the river, Wayman said.
Hanner said Rogers again tried to flee police on foot, but officers were able to apprehend him. Hanner arrested him.
Rogers was booked into the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown at 10:23 p.m. without bond.
A passenger with Rogers was not arrested and was released at the scene.
Hanner was assisted by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, South Region conservation officers and the Indiana State Police.