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Man drowns while trying to flee police

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HAYDEN — A Jackson County man who was pursued by police drowned while trying to elude authorities by swimming across a pond near Hayden.

Nathaniel Phillips, 25, of County Road 1200E, Crothersville, was pronounced dead Sunday night shortly after being brought to the emergency room at Schneck Medical Center in Seymour.

The incident began at 8:35 p.m. on Seymour’s far east side along East Tipton Street, between Interstate 65 and U.S. 31. Seymour Police Chief Bill Abbott said Cpl. Bart Bevers spotted a red Jeep Cherokee moving in a suspicious manner.

As Bevers pulled up behind the SUV, he ran a computer check on the license, which revealed four active warrants for Phillips’ arrest. The Crothersville man was wanted for failure to appear in court, as well as possession charges involving a controlled substance, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

In addition, Phillips was being sought for a writ of attachment, which Abbott explained is most often issued in child support cases.

When the officer turned on his flashing lights to attempt a pullover, Phillips drove east out of Seymour on U.S. 50, according to Abbott. Bevers called for backup and followed the


At times, speeds during the 10-mile chase reached 90 mph. After entering Spencer Township in western Jennings

County, the pursuit continued on the highway for another two miles before Phillips turned left onto County Road 750W. It ended at about 8:45 p.m., less than a mile northwest of Hayden, when Phillips’ vehicle crashed into an embankment at a T-intersection with County Road 100N.

After both Bevers and Phillips jumped out of their vehicles, the officer attempted to use his Taser to subdue the suspect. There was a brief scuffle that ended as other officers began arriving at the scene.

At that point, Phillips attempted to avoid capture by swimming across a nearby pond. From the bank, police saw Phillips go under in the cold water and not come up, according to a Jennings County Sheriff’s Department news release.

Abbott said one of his men attempted to find Phillips but had to abandon the effort due to the coldness of the water and other adverse conditions.

However, a member of the Indiana State Police dive team, who lives nearby, arrived and began his own search. The diver found Phillips in about 10 feet of water at 9:05 p.m., almost 15 minutes after the man was seen going under.

After Phillips was pulled from the pond, officers attempted to revive him by performing CPR.

Abbott said the body has been sent to a medical examiner in Louisville to determine whether drugs, alcohol or a medical condition might have been a factor in his behavior.

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