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Ind. pursuit ends in fatality

By Vic Ryckaert
The Indianapolis Star

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — A driver killed in a crash on the Near Westside while trying to outrun police had been arrested last year for alleged drug and driving offenses, police said Tuesday.

Daron K. Johnson, 29, Indianapolis, died of injuries suffered in the crash near a Navy recruiting station in the 1800 block of West 30th Street, according to the Marion County coroner's office.

There have been 104 police pursuits in Marion County from January to March, the most recent statistics available, according to authorities. Data was not available Monday on how many of those pursuits resulted in injuries.

The latest incident began just after 2 a.m. when Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Bryan M. Zotz tried to stop a green Dodge Durango he spotted speeding and driving recklessly on 30th Street near College Avenue, according to a police report.
Zotz stopped the Durango at Meridian and 30th streets. As he walked toward the vehicle, police said Zotz saw the driver hide something in his pants.

"Mr. Johnson looked at me and immediately threw the vehicle into 'drive' and took off," Zotz wrote in the report.
Zotz and Officer King Fisher chased the Durango west on 30th, police said. The officers slowed their squad cars as they approached a hill west of Harding Street and lost sight of the Durango.

"As that vehicle went over the hill, myself and (Fisher) lost sight of the vehicle," Zotz wrote.

When the officers next saw the Durango, the vehicle was on its roof, with Jones trapped below it, according to the report.

The Durango had an invalid license plate and was not properly registered, police said.

Police did not release any details about what Johnson might have been trying to hide.

In August, an officer arrested Johnson for marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license. Johnson, according to a police report, had a bag of marijuana hidden in his pants and shoe.

As part of a deal with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to two counts of marijuana possession and received a 11/2-year suspended sentence last month.

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