High-speed chase leads to injury, arrest in North Vernon


A Marion County man faces seven criminal charges related to a chase that started Sunday afternoon in Jennings County and ended in Madison.

Joshua D. Ahern of Indianapolis was arrested and faces preliminary charges of driving without a license, operating without financial responsibility with a prior conviction, leaving the scene of an accident, criminal recklessness, resisting law enforcement with a vehicle, reckless driving and aggressive driving.

The incident that led to Ahern’s arrest began at 4:12 p.m. when officers with the North Vernon Police Department and Jennings County Sheriff’s Department responded to a report of a motorist leaving the scene of a wreck in the area of State Road 7 and Geneva Road, according to a news release from Sgt. Isaac Barkes.

Barkes, public information officer for the North Vernon Police Department, reported a city officer responding to the area of North State Street found the suspect vehicle, a gray 2004 Dodge Stratus.

That officer reported observing numerous moving violations from the person driving that vehicle and turned to conduct a traffic stop on West Franklin Street, Barkes said.

Upon initiating the traffic stop, the driver — later identified as Ahern — failed to yield and began to attempt to evade police, nearly hitting a pedestrian and his dog and driving through front yards on Bay Street, police said.

Ahern then led police on a pursuit that went south on North State Street to South State Street and then southbound on State Road 7 into Madison in Jefferson County.

Barkes said during the pursuit of nearly 23 miles, Ahern committed numerous other traffic violations with speeds reaching in excess of 105 miles per hour.

An officer from the Madison Police Department attempted to end the pursuit by utilizing tire deflation devices; however, it was unsuccessful, police said.

Ahern lost control of his vehicle in the area of the 900 block of Lanier Drive in Madison and ultimately collided with two parked and unoccupied vehicles. The collision caused a full-size fan to be forced through a front wall of a business front, officers said.

Ahern was immediately apprehended by officers, and medical personnel were called to the scene. Ahern was flown out from the scene to a nearby hospital due to injuries he sustained during the crash. No other individuals or officers were injured throughout the incident.

The investigation into the incident is continuing, police said.

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