Traffic stop on toll road leads to pursuit and fraud investigation

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A traffic stop on the Indiana Toll Road led to a brief pursuit and fraud investigation.

It happened around 6:15 p.m. on on Tuesday, July 25, when troopers conducted a traffic stop on a Nissan Maxima at the Portage Toll Barrier in Portage.

The vehicle had been reported to be driving erratically, according to Indiana State Police.

During the traffic stop, the state trooper detected the strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the passenger compartment of the vehicle, state police reported.

Troopers identified a passenger in the vehicle as Kevin Thunderbird, 30, of Chicago.

A second I.D. card was also located in the vehicle. This I.D. had Thunderbird’s picture on it, but it had different personal information leading the officers to believe the card was false, state police reported.

Further investigation led to the discovery of approximately 30 plastic cards, each containing a magnetic strip on the card.

Thunderbird’s explanation was suspicious in nature and as troopers questioned this explanation, Thunderbird took off on foot, state police reported.

Thunderbird ran across all lanes of traffic of the Toll Road into the south ditch and into a tall grassy area. A state trooper found Thunderbird, grabbed him and tackled him to the ground and placed him in handcuffs, according to state police.

He was taken to the Porter County Jail on preliminary charges of fraud, forgery and resisting arrest.

The driver of the vehicle, Alexis Robinson, 21, of Chicago, was cited for operating a motor vehicle without being licensed.

The United States Secret Service is assisting with this case and the investigation is still underway.

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