On May 12th at approximately 10:45 p.m., Trooper Nicholas Price stopped a white 2005 Chrysler 300 on I-65 at the 260 mile marker for a minor traffic offense. During the traffic stop, the driver, later identified as Tabitha S. Fidanza, 37, of Michigan City Indiana, refused to identify herself and initially gave her sister’s information as her own. Additional units were called to the scene and Gary Police Department responded. During the investigation, Fidanza was asked to exit the vehicle but rather then comply, she fled the scene in her vehicle, striking a Gary police officer. The officer that was struck received minor leg injuries.
Trooper Price then initiated a pursuit as the vehicle fled south on I-65 from the scene of the traffic stop as speeds reached 120 m.p.h.. “Stop Sticks” were deployed at several different locations as the vehicle continued to flee. The stop stick deployments were successful as one of the vehicle’s tires began to deflate and the driver drove at a greatly reduced speed; however the driver continued to flee through the construction zone along I-65 in Lake County. Additional police units were able to deploy stop sticks once the vehicle left the construction zone as the pursuit continued south through Newton and Jasper Counties, deflating three of the the vehicles four tires.
Fidanza finally voluntarily ended the pursuit at the 218 mile marker. This is three miles south of the Rensselaer exit in Jasper County. The driver was then taken into custody without further incident. Once in custody, her true identity was confirmed and it was discovered that Fidanza had multiple warrants for her arrest. Fidanza was incarcerated at the Lake County Jail. She has been preliminarily charged with:
1. Failure to Appear (Theft)- LaPorte County Warrant
2. Failure to Appear (Possession of a syringe) – Porter County Warrant
3. Battery causing injury- Level 5 Felony
4. Resisting Law Enforcement- Level 6 Felony
5. False Informing- Level 6 Felony
6. Reckless Driving- Class A Misdemeanor
7. Refusal to Identify- Class C Misdemeanor
Assisting agencies: Gary Police Department, Lake County Sheriff, Crown Point Police, Demotte Police, Jasper County Sheriff and several Indiana State Police Troopers from District #13 and District #21. The vehicle was impounded by Cheever’s Towing.
*All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law*