Pursuits lands Jackson County man in jail

A high-speed pursuit that began Sunday evening with an attempted traffic stop in Bedford ended with the arrest of a 41-year-old Norman man at his home.

Rickie J. Cockerham Jr. faces a Level 5 felony charge of habitual traffic violator for life and a Level 6 felony charge of resisting law enforcement with a vehicle, according to a news release from Indiana State Police Sgt. Curt Durnil, public information officer for the Bloomington Post.

Cockerham, who also faces Class C misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and possession of paraphernalia, was booked into the Lawrence County Jail in Bedford after his arrest.

The incident that led to the pursuit began just before 6 p.m. when Trooper Chris Griggs and Sgt. Greg Day saw a motorist in a white 2002 Chrysler Town and Country minivan traveling east on Fifth Street in Bedford, Durnil said.

He said the license plate on the van, which also contained a passenger, was expired, and a check showed it did not belong on the van.

At that point, Griggs and Day attempted to stop the van, but the driver accelerated, beginning the pursuit.

The van headed eastbound on State Road 58 at a high rate of speed and passed multiple vehicles in dangerous locations, gaining a large amount of distance on the pursuing officers, Durnil reported.

The van continued east on State Road 58, north on Shawswick Station Road, ultimately turning east on Todd Lane. Troopers discontinued the pursuit and lost sight of the van, police said.

A short time later, a concerned citizen called the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department reporting the van was parked in a wooded area off of Todd Lane, Durnil reported.

Troopers, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department officers, Conservation Officer Ryan Jahn and a state police helicopter searched the area for the two suspects, who had fled the van on foot.

The two men were not immediately found, but evidence was recovered from the van, leading Griggs to be able to positively identify the driver. In addition, drug paraphernalia was located during a search of the van.

Griggs and Day, with assistance from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and troopers from the Versailles Post, traveled to the suspect’s home near Norman. Cockerham was found there and arrested. The passenger of the vehicle is still unknown.