Police use Stop Sticks in chase

The use of Stop Sticks to slow and stop a vehicle being pursued by police is considered on a case-by-case basis, said Sgt. Stephen Wheeles, Indiana State Police spokesman for the Versailles post.

Stop Sticks were used early Thursday in an effort to stop a Hummer traveling northbound on Interstate 65 that was being pursued by police through Bartholomew and Johnson counties.

Stop Sticks are rods stuffed with spikes and styrofoam that are placed in roadways by police or the military as a tire-deflation device designed to slowly deflate a tire that crosses over it.

“The key is finding a safe location to put them out,” said Wheeles, who added that there is the danger on the interstate because of fast-moving traffic that other vehicles might travel over the devices before police have a chance to remove them.

The sticks are designed to gradually cause a tire to deflate, which lessens the danger of a tire blowing out at interstate speeds, he said.

All Indiana State Police trooper road deputies carry Stop Sticks in their vehicles as part of their equipment, Wheeles said.

The police-pursuit tool was invented by a trooper from the Versailles post, he said.

Ken Greves, who was public information officer at the Versailles post from 1971 to 1993, invented Stop Sticks in 1992 and patented it, according to a website about the creation of the devices.

He came up with the idea after talking with a fellow officer who had been chasing a car and was forced to bump into it with his patrol car to stop it, damaging both vehicles. His prototype was created from items he picked up at a hardware store.

On the Web

To learn about Stop Sticks, visit stopstick.com

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.