Police chase ends with fiery crash in South Bend early Tuesday morning

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By: Krystal Vivian kvivian@953mnc.com

(Krystal Vivian/95.3 MNC)

Traffic may be backed up near Walnut Street and Western Avenues after a police chase in South Bend ended when a track crashed on the nearby railroad tracks.

A person reported a stolen truck in Elkhart on Tuesday morning and had followed the suspect from Elkhart into South Bend, Div. Chief Scott Ruszkowski with the South Bend Police Department said in an interview Tuesday morning.

Police attempted to stop the truck twice using the PIT maneuver, in which a pursuing vehicle forces a vehicle to turn sideways abruptly and cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle, Ruszkowski said. The driver instead kept driving and sped up after both attempts.

He attempted to jump the railroad tracks near Western Avenue and Arnold Street and the truck crashed, catching fire, Ruszkowski said. The driver got out of the car and tried to run from police, but officers caught up with him and arrested him. The fire was extinguished.

Norfolk Southern trains were stopped because of the crash. Engineers from Norfolk Southern will determine if the tracks are safe for trains to travel through the area, Ruszkowski said, but until then trains may block several railroad crossings through the west side of South Bend.

It’s not clear when the tracks will be cleared for the trains.