CHARLESTOWN, IN (WAVE) - Indiana State Police have taken the lead on investigating Benjamin Eads, the man accused of stealing a car and leading police on a chase that killed an on-duty officer Wednesday.
The 35-year-old suspect is facing several charges in multiple counties. In Clark County, Eads faces resisting law enforcement and auto theft.
Eads has been in trouble with the law before. Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said that in 2016, he was on the Home Incarceration Program for battery and resisting an officer.
The recent auto theft charge started at a gas station on State Road Three Wednesday night, according to a women whose husband’s car was stolen.
A high speed chase through three counties is not normal for Charlestown Police Department.
“On this side of the river, we don’t have a high volume of chases,” Chief Keith McDonald said.
McDonald said several officers tried to stop Eads as he evaded police in a stolen car.
According to McDonald, Sergeant Benton Bertram—who was killed—attempted to pull over Eads for speeding and driving on the wrong side of the road.
“Yes, Bertram followed policy,” McDonald said. “Now we ask, ‘What can we learn from this?’. There will certainly be a discussion."
The chase happened in three counties: Clark, Jefferson and Scott.
Sergeant Carey Huls with Indiana State Police said they were notified around 10:20 p.m. Wednesday of the chase.
Around 10:40 p.m., Eads led Bertram and other officers onto State Road 56 in Scott County.
Bertram lost control of his cruiser.
“They went over the little hump, and the police officer [Bertram] hit the tree and died at the scene,” Sondra Smith, a witness to the crash, said.
Smith watched as the suspect took off towards Madison.
“It’s been horrible, and I can't get it off my mind,” Smith said.
Chief McDonald said at some point after the crash, Eads ditched the stolen car. According to McDonald, Eads forced a passerby to give him a ride to Charlestown.
Police are not revealing details on the investigation of Eads.
The woman whose husband’s car was stolen told WAVE3 News she was at the gas station picking up her husband when she witnessed a suspected arrested by police.
Many of the officers from Charlestown Police and Indiana State Police attended a procession on Thursday night memorializing their fallen colleague.
“We are going to see to it that Sergeant Bertram is honored the right way,” McDonald said.
Eads is being held in Scott County Jail where he faces the most severe charges: Resisting law enforcement, causing death.
In Jefferson County, Prosecutor Davis Sutter has not said if they will also charge Eads with resisting arrest.