Yesterday evening just before 6 pm, Indiana State Police Trooper Chris Griggs and Sgt. Greg Day were patrolling in Lawrence County. While doing so, they observed a white, 2002 Chrysler Town and Country mini-van traveling eastbound on 5th Street in Bedford with a license plate that was expired and did not belong on the van. Troopers attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but the male driver of the van accelerated and a pursuit ensued.
A male passenger was observed in the van as well.
The van headed eastbound on State Road 58 at a high rate of speed and passed multiple vehicles in dangerous locations, gaining a large amount of distance on the pursuing officers. The van continued east on SR 58, north on Shawswick Station Road, ultimately turning east on Todd Lane. Troopers discontinued the pursuit and lost sight of the van. A short time later, a concerned citizen called the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department reporting the van was parked in a wooded area off of Todd Lane.
Troopers, along with Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department Officers, Indiana Conservation Officer Ryan Jahn and the Indiana State Police Aviation Section (helicopter) converged on the area. The two suspects had fled the van on foot and a manhunt was conducted of the area. The suspects were not immediately located however evidence was recovered from the van, leading Trooper Griggs to be able to positively identify the driver.
In addition, drug paraphernalia was located during the search of the van.
Trooper Griggs and Sgt. Day, with assistance from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and troopers from the Versailles District, traveled to the suspect’s residence near Norman, Indiana. The suspect was located and arrested.
The passenger of the vehicle is still unknown.
The arrested driver was identified as Rickie J. Cockerham Jr. 41, of Norman. He was incarcerated in the Lawrence County Jail for the following offenses:
- Habitual Traffic Violator for Life, Level 5 Felony
- Resisting Law Enforcement in Vehicle, Level 6 Felony
- Resisting Law Enforcement on Foot, A Misdemeanor
- Criminal Recklessness with a Vehicle, B Misdemeanor
- Reckless Driving, C Misdemeanor
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, C Misdemeanor
Under the Law, criminal charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.