by: Michael Kuhn
Posted: / Updated:
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A police chase that lasted more than an hour ended at Fort Wayne International Airport’s control tower early Thursday morning.
According to the New Haven Police Department, the situation started just before midnight when one of its officers noticed a car driving recklessly at IN-930 and Hartzell Road in New Haven.
When the officer tried to pull the driver over, he took off.
Over the next hour, the driver led police west through several neighborhoods and all over Fort Wayne.
Officers with the Fort Wayne Police Department joined the chase to provide help. They used multiple sets of stop sticks to take out all of the suspect’s tires.
As the driver headed toward the south part of Fort Wayne and into the county, officers noticed him reaching below and in between his seats. That made them concerned that he might have had a gun or other illegal items in the car.
At that point, they moved Emergency Services and Crisis Response Team members to the front of the pursuit and came up with a plan to remove the driver safely once he came to a stop.
Officers from FWPD, New Haven, the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, and Indiana State Police Department then worked together to corral the driver into a square-mile section of country roads near the airport.
Police officials called the airport and warned them about the situation. As a precaution, they also made sure the control tower was locked down.
Police eventually forced the driver to turn toward the airport on Winters Road, which comes to a dead end. Before reaching the end of the road, the suspect turned onto the driveway to the airport control tower, which also comes to a dead end.
When the driver realized he had nowhere else to run, he stopped and peacefully surrendered to police.
New Haven police took him into custody just after 1 a.m. and transported him to their department headquarters to be interviewed and tested for drugs and alcohol.
Officers searched the vehicle and did not find any guns or drugs, but they did find an open beer bottle.
New Haven police said the suspect is Donald Ray Barnett, 41, of Ohio.
He faces initial charges of reckless driving and felony fleeing in a vehicle. Police officials said Barnett may also face additional charges, including drunk driving if his blood alcohol content tests come back high enough.
No injuries were reported during the incident.