High-speed chase witness thankful no one hurt

Mug shot of Charlie Marcum courtesy the Noble County Sheriff's Department.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – St. Marys Avenue resident Amy Allen was standing outside smoking a cigarette around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.  There isn’t usually much traffic outside her home, near a dead end.  But this time, she witnessed the end of a high-speed chase spanning two counties.

“All of a sudden I heard this loud screeching noise, and I look to my left and all of a sudden I see this car coming down St. Marys really fast,” Allen said.  “I couldn’t tell you how many police were behind him.”

Noble County deputies received a call shortly before 1 a.m. about a possibly drunk man with a lifetime license suspension driving around Chain O’ Lakes State Park near Albion in Noble County. Deputies arrived at the park and waited for the man near the entrance. When he exited the park, officers told the man to stop and exit his car.

The driver, identified by police as Charlie Marcum II of Fort Wayne, ignored instructions from the officers and took off toward County Road 75 South.

Two officers went after Marcum in a chase that hit speeds near 100 mph along U.S. 33 and Goshen Road.

After driving over stop sticks, one tire deflated and the suspect continued to drive on the rims.
After driving over stop sticks, one tire deflated and the suspect continued to drive on the rims, marking the pavement and creating ruts in the ground.

Churubusco police officers put stop sticks on the road during the pursuit. Marcum drove over them and continued. With the front passenger-side tire deflated, Marcum continued towards Fort Wayne, driving on the car’s rim and leaving marks along the pavement.

The chase eventually ended near downtown Fort Wayne after Marcum reached a dead end on Saint Marys Avenue near the train tracks. Marcum turned his vehicle into a nearby alley, hit a tree and took off running away from the car.

Police quickly chased him down, using a Taser on him before taking him into custody. Paramedics then checked on Marcum before he was taken to a hospital in Kendallville.

Allen was thankful no one in her neighborhood was hurt.

“I had my hands on my face and was like, ‘Oh no, oh no, oh no.’  Because if he would’ve turned he would have taken out that house…I didn’t know if he was going to lose control and hit one of their cars,” she said while pointing at parked cars on St. Marys.

Once at the hospital, he continued to try to escape, according to a release the Noble County Sheriff’s Department sent on Wednesday morning. Kendallville police officers had to help subdue him.  While handcuffed in a squad car, officers say Marcum figured out a way to move his hands from the back to the front.

“Mr. Marcum threw an elbow and hit my officer in the cheek with an elbow,” said Chad Willett, chief deputy with the Noble County Sheriff’s Dept.  “He again got into another foot pursuit with them. At one point in time they were able to go back down to the ground with the aid of the Avilla Police Department and Kendallville Police Department we were able to take the suspect back into custody and take him to the hospital for a medial clearance.”

Noble County sheriff deputies detained a man they pursued into Fort Wayne early Wednesday morning.
Noble County sheriff deputies detained a man they pursued into Fort Wayne early Wednesday morning.

After the hospital, Marcum was booked in the Noble County Jail on the following charges:

  • Operating a vehicle as a habitual traffic violator
  • Resisting law enforcement with a vehicle
  • Operating while intoxicated
  • Battery to a police officer resulting in bodily injury

Police said the Noble County Prosecutor’s Office is reviewing the charges.

Marcum’s blood alcohol content was unclear because police say he refused all tests.

Google Maps indicated the distance between the start and end of the pursuit as 25.5 miles with an estimated travel time of 35 minutes. Noble County dispatchers said from the time the pursuit started to the time Marcum was in custody was 19 minutes.

Officers with the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, Fort Wayne Police Department and the Noble County Sheriff’s Department were all at the scene in Fort Wayne thanks to the pursuit that crossed county lines.

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