An East Chicago man is facing charges after crashing into an Indiana State Trooper’s patrol vehicle and fleeing the scene.

On March 7, at about 11:30 p.m., Trooper Kevin Council was assisting with traffic direction on Cline Avenue near the bridge over the Grand Calumet River. Council was parked in the left lane with his police emergency lights activated due to an earlier crash that other officers were investigating. An SUV rear-ended Council’s police car, then revved its engine, and fled the scene at a high rate of speed. Council had to be transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

An East Chicago officer later located the vehicle, a 2019 Chevrolet Equinox, parked in the  3200 block of Regent Street in East Chicago. The vehicle had significant damage to it to include multiple flat tires, the airbags were deployed, and open alcoholic beverage containers could be seen inside the vehicle. Officers impounded the vehicle at that time.

On March 8, at about 6:30 p.m., Joel A. Barrera contacted the East Chicago Police Department and attempted to report that his vehicle had been stolen from his girlfriend’s residence in the 3700 block of Euclid Avenue in East Chicago.  He described the vehicle as a 2019 Chevrolet Equinox, the same vehicle that had been recovered from in front of his own residence.

A search warrant was requested and granted by a Lake County Judge. As a result of that search, evidence was collected and analyzed. A search warrant was subsequently approved to collect a DNA standard from Joel Antonio Barrera. When officers attempted to serve the DNA search warrant, Barrera refused to cooperate with the warrant.  When he was told it wasn’t voluntary, he repeatedly stated that he would not participate with the DNA warrant.

Barrera faces charges of criminal recklessness, leaving the scene of an accident causing injury, resisting law enforcement, obstruction of justice, false informing, reckless driving, possession of marijuana, altered interim license plate.

Barrera has since been released from the Lake County Jail.  All suspects are presumed to be innocent until/unless proven guilty in court.