It began just after midnight on Dec. 9, 2008. Sherman Police Chief
Eric C. Smith said that one of his officers observed a vehicle on
Interstate 55 moving erratically, changing lanes, speeding up and
slowing down. The driver was suspected of driving under the
A Sherman police officer pulled the driver over, but as the
officer got out of his vehicle, the driver sped away.
A high-speed chase ensued but was dropped at about Elkhart after
speeds exceeded 100 mph. An all-points bulletin was issued by the
Illinois State Police.
Lincoln police on the alert observed the vehicle come into town
from the south but kept their distance. However, midway through
Lincoln, the driver made directional errors that put him in the
Carroll Catholic School parking lot. He then began driving
recklessly, which led to property damage in the lot, and shortly
thereafter he struck a marked squad car that was stopped near
Lincoln police took up an active pursuit to stop the vehicle.
From the downtown area the driver continued to travel north on Logan
Street, despite one tire blown. The chase came to an end when the
driver failed to negotiate the curve at the end of Logan Street and
the vehicle became stuck in a ditch.
The oddity of this event was that it was not some young hooligans
gone wild, wreaking havoc; nor was it a criminal type with warrants,
in a stolen vehicle or on a getaway; nor was it anyone from whom
hazardous behavior might be expected. Rather it was a senior citizen
who emerged from the vehicle.
Suvada Lindsey, 71, of Starkville, Miss., was arrested and
detained in the Logan County Jail until his court appearance in
Logan County. Tests taken after his arrest indicated no alcohol or
other illegal substance use.
Lindsey pleaded guilty to aggravated fleeing and eluding a peace
officer. He was sentenced to 24 months conditional discharge plus
the nine days he had already served in jail. He was also ordered to
pay fees and costs.
Following his court appearance he was put on a train and sent
back to his home in Mississippi.
He was scheduled to appear in Sangamon County Court on Feb. 10
for traffic violation charges from the incident. The Sherman Police
Department had issued citations for speeding and improper lane
A representative of the Sangamon County states attorney's office
said that Lindsey did not show up at his first scheduled court
appearance, and following procedure, the office issued a continuance
to March 10.
Lindsey would not make either appointment.
[to top of second column]
Suvada Lindsey was found dead in his home more than a month ago.
The exact date of death was unknown, according to Michael Hunt,
the coroner for Oktibbeha County, Miss. He said that a social worker
doing a scheduled check found him. The family was permitted to
choose the date of death and chose Feb. 1, 2009. His death was of
natural causes, Hunt said.
Officials in Sangamon County are now closing out their paperwork
on the case.
Lindsey was born and raised in East Chicago and worked at Inland
Steel in Chicago for 36 years before he retired. His wife of 50
years and most of his family still live around the Gary, Ind., area.
His funeral was in Gary.
Obituary accounts proclaimed his strong belief in God, that he
bore a servant's heart in his church and was a "prayer warrior" when
he lived near Chicago. He was remembered lovingly by family members.
It was unclear why the nearly lifelong East Chicago man was
living in Mississippi, so far away from his roots. It also remains a
question of what led to the erratic behaviors of the senior citizen
who led police from several jurisdictions on a high-speed chase in
the wee hours of the morning. Now, with Lindsey's death, those
answers will never be known.
Lincoln is 567 miles and nine hours driving from Starkville,
Miss. It is another three hours to Gary, Ind.