Northern District federal courthouse in Hammond

High-speed police pursuits could result in federal charges against drivers

Contributed By:The 411 News

Northern District Attorney General says fleeing police and putting many lives at risk is intolerable

A Gary man who fled a police stop that led to a high-speed auto chase is being used as an example in a recent decision from the U.S. federal court in Hammond.

Varnell Dixon, 24, pled guilty to possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, announced U.S. Attorney Kirsch.

In the plea agreement, Dixon admitted that on December 28, 2019, he was driving a rented vehicle and was speeding eastbound on Interstate 80/94.

At the time, he possessed a fully loaded Glock nine millimeter firearm, four bags of marijuana, some of which he intended to distribute, and $323.00 in small bills. Upon being pursued by the Indiana State Police, Dixon attempted to elude the police at a high rate of speed and ultimately exited onto the Cline Avenue ramp.

Dixon lost control of the vehicle, causing it to leave the roadway and roll over several times. Dixon was thrown from the vehicle and arrested.

“There have been several high speed pursuits in the recent months that have garnered media attention in Northwest Indiana,” said United States Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch. “Some of these chases have occurred solely within Indiana and some have crossed state lines. This type of criminal activity – fleeing police and putting many lives at risk while doing so – is entirely intolerable."

Kirsch added, "I have instructed federal law enforcement and my office to charge these type of cases federally, whenever possible, and to seek appropriate sentences for these criminals. We are fortunate in Northwest Indiana to have so many outstanding law enforcement officers and departments. We will do everything we can to deter this criminal conduct.”

In the plea agreement, the parties agreed that the Court should impose the statutory mandatory minimum five year term of imprisonment.

Story Posted:08/18/2020

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