Sheriff: SUV Sped Up Before Striking 4 Ind. Officers

CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) — Northwestern Indiana police searched Wednesday for an SUV that was damaged when its driver accelerated into four jogging jail officers, killing one and injuring the three others, Lake County Sheriff John Buncich said.

Tuesday night's collision in Crown Point killed 25-year-old Britney Muex of Crown Point and critically injured 22-year-old Delano Scaife of St. John. The Times of Munster and the Merrillville Post-Tribune reported Scaife was transported to the Indiana University medical center in Indianapolis for extensive surgery. The two other officers were in fair condition.

The officers were jogging single-file near the Lake County Government Complex in Crown Point, 12 miles south of Gary, and couldn't see the SUV speeding up behind, Buncich said. But "one of the officers said he heard a loud revving of the engine, and simultaneously they were struck," he said.

"There was no attempt (by the driver) to stop," he said.

Buncich said the driver had to drive partially off the pavement to strike the four officers "off to the side of the road." They were jogging along a well-lit section of a four-lane road just near the Lake County Jail, where the officers worked guarding inmates.

Investigators did not know if was an accident or the driver was targeting the officers, the sheriff said.

They were focusing their search on a vehicle that left the government center's parking lot without headlights about the time of the collision.

Investigators were reviewing surveillance video from the Lake County Government Complex and nearby businesses, Buncich said, as well as talking to auto repair shops. Investigators recovered a passenger-side mirror torn from the SUV by the force of the impact. He said the vehicle also sustained extensive front-end and passenger-side damage.

The vehicle appeared to be either a 1999 to 2006 GMC Sierra or a 2003 to 2006 GMC Yukon, Buncich said. Meux died at the scene of the collision, Buncich said. An ex-Marine, Meux was a three-year veteran of the county corrections department and the single mother of a 5-month-old daughter. She was attending Indiana University Northwest.

"I knew her as little in stature, but she was a real go-getter," Buncich said. "Officers knew her as smart, disciplined, hardworking and dependable. It's sad. We have lost one of our family."

Scaife underwent surgery Wednesday, Buncich said. The son of an Illinois law enforcement official, he had been on the job four months.

The two injured officers were David Murchek, 25, of Crown Point, and Latasha Renea Johnson, 34, of Gary. Murchek suffered a broken leg, and Johnson suffered a broken arm and internal injuries. Both were reported in fair condition Wednesday.

Buncich asked anyone with information in the case to call 219-755-3333.


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