Austin man arrested after stealing police car, fleeing

AUSTIN — Indiana State Police Troopers in Sellersburg arrested a Scott County man after he allegedly stole a city police cruiser and led officers from multiple agencies on a high-speed pursuit in southern Indiana.

The incident that led to the arrest of 44-year-old Roger Stamper of Austin unfolded around 1:30 Thursday morning when officers with the Scottsburg City Police Department were investigating an unrelated call at the I-65 Studio Suites Hotel near Exit 29 in Scottsburg, according to a news release from Sgt. Carey Huls.

Stamper faces Level 6 felony charges of theft and resisting law enforcement with a vehicle, Class A misdemeanor charges of resisting law enforcement and aggressive driving/unsafe operation; and Class B misdemeanor charges of unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle and reckless driving. He also faces a driving while suspended charge and received numerous traffic citations.

While out on that call, officers learned that a male subject had gained entry to one of the marked Scottsburg City Police cars in the hotel parking lot and had driven away, said Huls, who is the public information officer for the Sellersburg Post.

Officers soon located the stolen car traveling southbound on I-65 a few miles south of the city and when they attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver fled southbound, sometimes traveling well over 100 mph, Huls said.

As the car continued southbound, officers with the sheriff’s departments in Scott and Clark county along with troopers from the Sellersburg Post soon joined the pursuit.

Huls said officers successfully deployed stop stick tire deflation devices near the 12 and 9 mile markers in Clark County; however, despite damage to the tires, the driver continued southbound at speeds approaching 140 mph.

Master Trooper Rob Caudill maneuvered behind the car in an attempt to utilize the precision immobilization technique (PIT maneuver) to stop the vehicle.

Before that could happen, the driver lost control of the car, veering into the concrete median barrier around the 3 mile marker near Eastern Boulevard. The vehicle eventually stopped as it scraped against the barrier wall.

The driver, later identified as Stamper, exited through the passenger side door of the car shortly after the crash.

Officers utilized a taser to subdue him when he refused to follow commands. Stamper was placed into custody and medically cleared before officers transported him to the Scott County Jail in Scottsburg.

ISP Sergeant Tracy Spencer is investigating the vehicle theft.