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Friday, May 24, 2024

Indiana man found guilty after leading deputy on mile-and-a-half chase

Dean Larry O’Neal
Dean Larry O’Neal

An Indiana man has been found guilty on multiple charges after leading a Sumter County sheriff’s deputy on a mile-and-a-half chase in 2023.

Dean Larry O’Neal, 61, of Crown Point, Ind., was found guilty April 5 in Sumter County Court on charges of battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting law enforcement officer with violence, fleeing and attempting to elude law enforcement and possession of drug paraphernalia.

“The defendant’s actions clearly demonstrated a blatant disregard for the safety of our community and the authority of law enforcement,” said Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Bill Gladson. “By battering an officer and attempting to flee with drugs, he not only posed a direct threat to public safety but also showed a complete disregard for the laws that are in place to protect us all. It is imperative that we hold individuals like him accountable for such dangerous and reckless behavior.”

On the night of Feb, 9, 2023, in the vicinity of County Road 44A and County Road 221, a deputy attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle that did not have a license plate. The deputy made contact with the driver, O’Neal, who identified himself through an Indiana driver’s license.

During the stop, K-9 unit was summoned to the scene of the traffic stop and the dog alerted on the vehicle, indicating the presence of drugs. A deputy informed O’Neal that a search of the vehicle would take place. O’Neal became argumentative and advised he would not step out of the vehicle. When the deputy took him by the arm for compliance and to try to remove him from the car, O’Neal fled.

The deputy pursued O’Neal’s vehicle for a mile and a half before O’Neal pulled over into the driveway of a residence. He was subsequently taken into custody without further incident. A search of the vehicle turned up a small clear bag that tested positive for the presence of cocaine, along with pills identified as Sildenafil, which requires a prescription. Officials also found a plastic bag that contained yellow squares which tested positive for THC.

O’Neal has been booked at the Sumter County Detention Center until sentencing.

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