News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 9, 2012

Woman faces charges of auto theft, resisting law enforcement

Tribune-Star staff report

TERRE HAUTE — Criminal charges of auto theft and resisting law enforcement have been filed against a Terre Haute woman who was hospitalized after the car she was driving crashed into Otter Creek.

Natasha Lee, 20, appeared in Vigo Superior Court 5 on Thursday where Judge Michael Rader advised her of the two class-D felony charges, and told Lee that additional criminal charges may be filed against her.

The high-speed chase occurred in the early morning hours of Oct. 31 after a Terre Haute Police patrolman noticed a car northbound on Lafayette Avenue driving without headlights. The car crossed the center line and almost collided head-on with his patrol vehicle, said the officer, who avoided the collision and turned around to catch up to the car. During the pursuit, the vehicle Lee was driving again crossed the center line and almost collided with another vehicle.

During an earlier hearing on the case, Detective Brad Rumsey testified that the officer activated his lights and siren and tried to stop the swerving car, but the driver continued northbound, at times accelerating to 90 miles per hour. The pursuit continued across Park Avenue, where the car failed to negotiate a curve and went into the creek.

Lee was extricated from the partially submerged car by Otter Creek firefighters and was airlifted from the scene to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. She was recently released from the hospital and continued to use crutches Thursday.

Rumsey said Lee was on probation out of Knox County on an alcohol-related offense. He said he was told by Lee’s mother that she had a 0.19 percent blood-alcohol content following the accident.

Rader ordered Lee to sign up for supervision through the Vigo County Drug and Alcohol Program. He also set a trial date of Feb. 6 in the case and allowed her to remain free on her own recognizance, pending trial.