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Ind. officer dies after colliding with patrol car in pursuit

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August 12, 2007

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Ind. officer dies after colliding with patrol car in pursuit

Officer Down: Officer Benjamin Wilcher - [Gary, Indiana]


Biographical Info

Age: 29

Cause of Death: Vehicle Pursuit

Additional Information:
 Officer Wilcher had served with the Gary Police Department for three years.

Incident Details:  Officer Wilcher was killed when his patrol car collided with another patrol car at the intersection of 35th Avenue and Virginia Street during a vehicle pursuit.

End of Watch: Sunday, August 12, 2007

Associated Press

GARY, Ind. — A Gary police officer has died from injuries he suffered after his squad car collided with another while both were pursuing a suspect, officials said.

Patrolman Benjamin Wilcher, 28, died at St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields, Ill., on Sunday, the day after the collision.

The suspect being chased by Wilcher remained at large Sunday, said Gary Lt. Del Stout, who declined to discuss the crimes.

Wilcher, who lived in Gary with his wife and two children, including one born in May, joined the department two years ago and was assigned to the midnight division, Stout said.

"He was real eager, real dedicated," Stout told the Post-Tribune of Merrillville. "It's a tremendous loss."

Wilcher was chasing the suspect late Saturday when his vehicle collided with one driven by Patrolman Arthur Lemme at 35th Avenue and Virginia Street in Gary.

Both officers were taken to The Methodist Hospitals in Gary before Wilcher was transferred to the Illinois hospital.

Lemme remained at Methodist on Sunday evening in stable condition with broken bones.

Wilcher made local headlines last year after working with other officers to discover an 8-year-old child who was left at home alone during a burglary, leading to the mother's arrest.

Gary Mayor Rudy Clay said Wilcher's death was a terrible loss for Gary.

"No words that I can state could really console the family or console the community," Clay said. "It was a police officer who was doing his duty, and certainly my sympathy and condolences go out to the family."

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