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High-speed chase, crash result in death


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One Jennings County resident was killed and another was seriously injured when their vehicle crashed after a police chase north of the Decatur-Jennings County line that at times reached 100 mph, police said.

Brooklynn N. Murray, 22, a North Vernon resident who recently moved to the Dupont area, was pronounced dead shortly before 9:30 p.m. Monday at the scene of the crash on Decatur County Road 700W, southeast of the small town of Sardinia, according to Decatur County Sheriff Greg Allen.

The other occupant of the vehicle, Steven D. Fletcher, 31, of rural Butlerville, was flown to Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis by a helicopter ambulance with head and possible internal injuries, the release stated. A hospital spokeswoman said Fletcher was in surgery as of late Tuesday afternoon.

About 9 p.m. Monday, officers began pursuing the 2009 Honda occupied by Murray and Fletcher after a western Decatur County resident living on County Road 480S, about 2 miles east of Hartsville, notified police he was pursuing the car himself, Allen said in the release.

The caller, who lives near the small community of Forest Hill, said he saw the couple trespassing outside a rental house adjacent to his home that was owned by his mother, Allen said.

While the rental property recently has been unoccupied, there still were several items in the house, the sheriff said. Allen added that he doesn’t know at this time if anything was taken.

The homeowner began what turned into a 9-mile chase after the couple got in their car, with Murray driving, and fled the area, Allen said. The sheriff said that less than a mile after the pursuit started, Fletcher rolled down his passenger window and pointed a weapon toward his pursuer.

However, no shot was fired as the homeowner kept his vehicle to the left side of the road out of line of the firearm, Allen said.

The homeowner told police the driver of the Honda disregarded traffic signs as the pursuit continued south on County Road 700W.

As officers joined the chase, it moved into southern Decatur County. Westport Town Marshal Joe Talkington tried to block the rural road with his patrol car at County Road 1100S, Allen said.

Upon seeing the lights on Talkington’s vehicle, Fletcher threw the weapon out of the car. Murray then veered the Honda into a ditch, drove past Talkington’s police cruiser, got back onto County Road 700W and continued south.

The driver disregarded

a stop sign while crossing State Road 3 near Westport and traveled another mile, the Sheriff said.

After cresting a hill and going off the right side of the road, the Honda struck a utility pole and then a rock ditch and rolled over several times in a field, ejecting both Murray and Fletcher, Allen said.

The weapon was recovered less than a mile from the crash, Allen said.

The investigation into the incident is continuing, the sheriff added.

Other agencies assisting at the scene of the crash were Decatur County EMS, the Westport Fire Department, Greensburg Fire Department, Letts Fire Department and the Indiana State Police.

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