SPENCER CO. – On Friday night, an Indiana State Police Trooper from the Evansville District attempted to stop a vehicle for a traffic violation on I-64 in Warrick County.
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 I-64 onto southbound US 231 in Spencer County. As the suspect vehicle turned onto US 231 the driver displayed such dangerous driving behaviors that the Indiana State Police discontinued the pursuit out of concerns for the safety of the motoring public.
A short time later, Spencer County Deputy Matthew Gosnell discovered the vehicle abandoned and disabled in the southbound lane of US 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 US 231 where they lost sight of them.
Investigators considered the suspects to be armed and dangerous at the time.
Master Trooper Trey Lytton responded, while off duty, and activated units from Indiana All Crimes Policing Team and Detectives from the Jasper Post. Trooper Kaitlyn Green arrived with her K9 Drogos to start a K9 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 City Police Department were also utilized.
Master Trooper Lytton and Chief James Faulkenburg, Santa Claus Police Department, 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 Indiana State Police helicopter and Sheriff Alan Malone, Perry County Sheriff Department, and his unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) were requested to assist at the scene.
During the active search for the subjects, Chief 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 on a charge of 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. At approximately 12:48 a.m., on Saturday, Troopers stopped a gray 2014 Kia for a traffic violation on US 231 near SR 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.
According to ISP Sgt. David Henderson, troopers, Santa Claus Police Department officers, and the Spencer County Sheriff’s Department deputies remained in the area and worked the North Spencer School to provide a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for school students, fans, and the general public for any weekend activities.
Sgt. Henderson said 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 please contact the Indiana State Police at Jasper 800-742-7475.