TERRE HAUTE —
A Terre Haute man faces criminal charges in Parke and Vermillion counties after a manhunt that ended along the banks of the Wabash River in Vigo County on Tuesday morning.
Ryan R. Steadman, 29, faces preliminary charges of resisting law enforcement and reckless driving in Vermillion County. He also faces a possible theft charge in Parke County.
The morning’s incidents began with a reported burglary in the Parke County town of Mecca. A jet ski on a trailer was reportedly taken by a person in a pickup truck who backed up to and connected to the trailer and then drove away from a residence.
Police broadcast a description of the suspect’s truck — a greenish blue 1998 Ford Ranger — when that vehicle was spotted at about 8:56 a.m. southbound on Indiana 63 near north Main Street in Clinton.
Indiana State Police Commercial Enforcement Trooper Brent Hoover and Vermillion County Sheriff’s Deputy Chad Hennis spotted the vehicle.
As they approached to investigate, police said, the vehicle veered into the town of Fairview and attempted to elude officers.
The vehicle re-entered southbound Indiana 63, police report, and officers pursued with their emergency lights and sirens activated. At some point, the jet ski was thrown off the trailer, and the trailer also detached from the truck.
The pursuit continued southbound into Terre Haute when the driver crossed a grassy ditch north of the intersection of Maple Avenue and turned northbound onto U.S. 41.
At Fort Harrison Road, police report, the suspect vehicle turned west and continued on Lee Avenue before striking a fence post and a stump, causing the vehicle to be disabled. The suspect reportedly resided near that neighborhood and was familiar with the area. The driver fled on foot and jumped into the nearby Wabash River.
A perimeter was established by ISP troopers, Terre Haute and Indiana State University police officers, and sheriff’s deputies from Parke, Vermillion and Vigo counties. Traffic on the Indiana 63 river bridge was reduced to one lane as officers parked along the right shoulder of the bridge and kept watch for the suspect in case he re-entered the river. Personnel from Sugar Creek Fire and Rescue also responded to the scene to assist in case of a water rescue.
A THPD canine unit responded to the scene, and the suspect was tracked and located in tall grass on the west side of the river at about 10:30 a.m.
Steadman was transported in an ISP vehicle to a nearby farm property where he was transferred into the custody of Parke County authorities. Wearing only an oversized pair of shorts, Steadman’s torso and arms had numerous visible welts and marks reportedly from insect bites sustained during the manhunt.
ISP reports that pursuit speeds reached 85 to 90 mph, but traffic was light to moderate in the area of the pursuit.
Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.