A southeastern Indiana man is facing at least nine criminal charges after allegedly leading authorities on a high-speed chase through three East Central Indiana counties before attacking a police dog.
Nelson Michael Hays, 37, from Guilford in Lawrence County, about 30 miles northeast of Cincinnati – was arrested a few days before Thanksgiving following the chase that began on Indiana Highway 3.
Henry County dispatchers began receiving calls from witnesses around 9:30 p.m. stating that Hays’ van was traveling at a high rate of speed and blowing through red lights. On multiple occasions, callers claimed that the vehicle’s lights were turned off.
Upon contact with a sheriff’s deputy, Hays continued traveling northbound, with speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour.
The pursuit continued into Delaware County and the Muncie city limits, eventually returning to Henry County via U.S. 35. Somehow, Hays managed to avoid stop sticks at U.S. 36. He finally came to a stop after passing into Randolph County.
Hays then reportedly refused to get out of the vehicle and shouted threats at the officers, saying that he intended to kill them all.
At that point, the deputies turned Chaos loose. Chaos is a K-9 with the Henry County Sheriff’s Department. He was deployed to try pulling Hays from the van, biting his leg in the process.
“At this time Hays took his left hand and fingers and began driving them into Chaos’ left eye while pouring vodka on (the dog’s) face,” a deputy wrote.
In the following struggle to subdue him, Hays allegedly kicked two of the deputies.
He was taken to Henry County Hospital for an exam and blood draw and continued to be “loud and disorderly” there, authorities said.
— Animal World USA® (@AnimalWorldUSA) January 13, 2015
According to the Muncie Star-Press, Hays was charged by the Henry Circuit Court 2 with driving while intoxicated, interfering with a law enforcement animal, disorderly conduct, public intoxication, driving as a habitual traffic offender and two counts each of battery against a public safety official and resisting law enforcement.
With any luck, he will also be charged with communicating a threat and an additional count of battery for the attack on Chaos.
Hays, who last week received a February 24th trial date, continues to be held in the Henry County jail on a $34,000 surety bond and $2,600 cash bond.
He has previously been convicted of battery against a public safety official, driving as a habitual traffic violator, driving while intoxicated (at least four times), public intoxication and resisting law enforcement.
This is the second time in the past few weeks that an Indiana K-9 was attacked by a suspect. The first story did not have a happy ending.
A loved member of the Fishers Police Department was killed in the line of duty Wednesday morning while tracking an armed suspect.
It all started around 12 a.m. on Interstate 69. That’s where police tried to pull over someone who they believed was drunk driving.
The man refused to stop, and officers ended up chasing him.
The chase ended on Olio Road. When the car stopped, a female passenger stayed in the car. She was taken into custody.
The driver, on the other hand, who police later identified as 19-year-old Richard Garrett, took off into the woods.
K-9 Harlej was called to the scene to track him down. After an officer spotted Garrett, and he refused to stop, K-9 Harlej was released.
“Shortly after, the officer heard a gunshot and K-9 Harlej went missing,” the department said.
Several hours later, Garrett was arrested. He was transported to a local hospital with a leg injury and was later booked into the Hamilton County Jail.
“A short time later, officers found K-9 Harlej in a wooded area,” the FPD said. “During his pursuit of the suspect, K-9 Harlej was shot and succumbed to his injury.”
According to police, the five-year-old Belgian Malinois bit Garrett before the suspect fatally shot him.
Police said they’re still trying to find the weapon Garrett used to kill K-9 Harlej.
Now both suspects are facing charges.
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The woman, 19-year-old Rashaana Farrow, has been charged with false informing. It turns out she was also wanted on warrants out of Marion County at the time of the incident.
As for Garret, he has been charged with 10 preliminary offenses.
That includes possession of a handgun without a license, unauthorized entry into a vehicle, possession of marijuana, resisting law enforcement, two counts of residential entry, theft/receiving stolen property, resisting law enforcement with a vehicle, criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon, and striking a law enforcement animal, according to the FPD.
“It is my belief that [K-9 Harlej] saved lives last night, and we’re thankful for his sacrifice,” said FPD Chief Ed Gebhart.
He held a press conference later Wednesday morning.
“[He had a] very successful career.”
Back in 2015, K-9 Harlej joined the FPD. He served alongside his partner and handler, Fishers Police Officer Jarred Koopman, for his entire career.
— Jenny Dreasler (@JennyDreaslerTV) November 20, 2019
This was the first line-of-duty death in the history of the FPD.
According to Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness, the community will never be able to properly thank K-9 Harlej for his years of devoted service.
“K-9 Harlej answered his last call early this morning protecting his fellow officers and our community,” Fadness tweeted. “We owe him & our men and women in uniform a debt of gratitude.”
A memorial service for the fallen K-9 will be announced at a later date, the department said.
LPD’s hearts & thoughts are with our @Fishers_Police colleagues. No doubt K9 Harlej saved lives.
No Greater Love… pic.twitter.com/UdvppVIgLC
— Lawrence Police Dept (@Lawrence_Police) November 13, 2019
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