Pursuit suspects remain at-large in Spencer Co

By Herald Staff

Law enforcement agencies are looking for four possible suspects who fled on foot from police Thursday night in Spencer County. The suspects could be armed, according to police, who have advised nearby residents to lock their doors.

An Indiana State Police Trooper from the Evansville District attempted to stop a vehicle for a traffic violation on I-64 in Warrick County late Thursday evening. The vehicle failed to stop and the trooper initiated a vehicle pursuit. During the pursuit, the trooper witnessed a handgun being thrown from the vehicle. The pursuit continued from Interstate 64 onto southbound U.S. 231 in Spencer County. As the suspect vehicle turned onto U.S. 231, the driver displayed such dangerous driving behaviors that the Indiana State Police discontinued the pursuit out of concerns for the safety of the rest of the motoring public.

A short time later, Spencer County Deputy Matthew Gosnell discovered the vehicle abandoned and disabled in the southbound lane of U.S. 231 just south of State Road 62 near Dale. The vehicle had a strong odor of marijuana and an additional handgun was located in the vehicle that was later determined to be stolen. Witnesses stated that they observed four subjects run from the vehicle and attempt to cross the median but stopped and ran back west across U.S. 231 where they lost sight of them. All suspects were considered to be armed and dangerous at the time.

Master Trooper Trey Lytton responded, while off duty, and activated units from the Indiana All Crimes Policing Team and detectives from the Jasper Post. Trooper Kaitlyn Green arrived with her K-9 Drogos to start a K-9 track of the suspects. A perimeter involving troopers from the Jasper and Evansville posts, the Spencer County Sheriff's Department, the Santa Claus Police Department, Gentryville Police, Indiana Conservation Officers, Dale Police Department, the Warrick County Sheriff Department, and the Jasper Police Department was set up. K-9 units for the Warrick County Sheriff's Department and the bloodhound from the Jasper Police Department were also utilized.

Lytton and Santa Claus Police Chief James Faulkenburg responded to Heritage Hills High School and coordinated with school officials to stop all athletic events for the safety of the students and fans (the North Spencer County School Corporation also ended up canceling classes Friday). The Indiana State Police helicopter and Perry County Sheriff Alan Malone and his unmanned aerial vehicle, were requested to assist at the scene.

During the active search for the subjects, Faulkenburg was alerted by a resident in Lincoln City of a suspicious vehicle in the area with Kentucky plates. That vehicle was found and stopped north of Lincoln City. The driver, identified as Kyra Newsom, of Louisville was questioned by officers. During the investigation, enough probable cause was developed to establish that Newsom was summoned to the area to pick up the suspects who had earlier ran from the trooper. Newsom was arrested for assisting a criminal and then transported to the Spencer County Jail.

Later, troopers obtained additional information that another individual may have been contacted to drive to the area to pick up the suspects who were still believed to be hiding in the area. Around 12:48 a.m Friday, Troopers stopped a gray 2014 Kia for a traffic violation on U.S. 231 near State Road 162. Master Trooper Tim Weisenberger and Trooper Jon Villanueva identified the driver as Ronald B. Spencer Rodriguez. The passenger was identified as Andrew D. Carter. Troopers and officers were again able to establish probable cause that Rodriguez and Carter were in the area to pick up the fugitives on the run. Both Rodriguez and Carter were arrested for assisting a criminal and transported to the Spencer County Jail.

At this time, after extensive efforts of multiple agencies, the original suspects still have not been located. Troopers have individuals of interest and are continuing to identify and interview them. If any suspicious individuals are seen in the area, the investigating agencies strongly encourage citizens not to approach them but to call 911 immediately. Troopers, the Santa Claus Police Department, and the Spencer County Sheriff's Department are still in the area at this time and will work with the North Spencer School to provide a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for school students, fans and the general public for any weekend activities.

It should be noted that none of the suspects or those arrested have ties to the North Spencer County area. It is believed that the first opportunity they have or had to leave the area will be or was taken advantage of.

If you have any information pertaining to this case, contact the Indiana State Police at Jasper 800-742-7475.

The information in this story is the latest as of 5 p.m. ET Friday. For the most up-to-date information on the search, visit www.duboiscountyherald.com.

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