Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Just-Released IN Inmate Steals Truck; Crashes and Dies

Here's the News-Dispatch.com story:
HAMLET - A man on release from prison allegedly stole a tow truck in Plymouth and during a police chase into Starke County was killed in a crash at Hamlet.

Nicholas Jacobs, 29, was on a temporary release Thursday from Westville Correctional Facility, said Indiana Department of Correction spokesman Doug Garrison. He was scheduled for a permanent release Sunday after serving less than a year for operating while intoxicated and auto theft, said Garrison.

After walking out the front gates at the prison, Jacobs, of Fort Wayne, later ended up in Plymouth where he went to a bar and stole a tow truck from Bob's Towing, La Porte County Coroner John Sullivan said.

About 11:10 p.m., Starke County Sheriff's deputies said officers were on the lookout for the stolen tow truck when it was spotted on U.S. 30. It pulled into gas station in Hamlet.

Police said Hamlet police officer Ryan Austin and Starke County Deputy Kelly Fisher pulled in behind Jacobs, who then fled the gas station westbound on U.S. 30 in the eastbound lanes.

At one point, the tow truck with another vehicle still hooked to it during the pursuit drove into the median between two sections of bridge above U.S. 35. He traveled more than 200 feet before crashing into the pavement below and a bridge abutment, police said.

"It was a spectacular crash," Sullivan said.

Jacobs was transported was pronounced dead of massive multi-system trauma. He had a blood alcohol level of .254 percent, Sullivan said.

Garrison said only less violent offenders who qualify are considered for a temporary release before their official date.

"You have to request it and be entitled," Garrison said.

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