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Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Firefighters and police treat the driver of this GM pickup that snapped off a utility pole on Leesburg Road.

Driver fleeing police hits power pole on Leesburg

For Taisha Jeffries, it was turning into a pretty decent Friday morning.

The former Air Force and Army servicewoman had a good meeting with Veterans Affairs, picked herself up a tasty blended coffee drink from Starbucks and was chatting with her mother over the phone while she cruised down Main Street.

But as she neared Leesburg Road, she spotted a speeding maroon pickup truck coming at her in her rearview mirror.

“I thought, ‘He’s going to hit me,’ ” Jeffries said.

Fortunately, Jeffries got out of the truck’s way and watched as it rounded the corner onto Leesburg.

Then she saw a utility pole shake.

A split second later, police cars came whizzing by with lights and sirens blaring.

“I was just screaming into the phone,” Jeffries said.

The truck, a Chevy Silverado, ended up crashing into a utility pole on Leesburg Road about 11:15 a.m., bringing a police chase in the area of Berry Street and Broadway to an end.

The driver of the Silverado, who was ejected from the truck, has yet to be identified.

Investigators theorize he walked out of Allen County Jail on Friday, strolled to the parking lot in the 400 block of South Calhoun Street and hopped into the truck.

The pickup truck had been reported stolen earlier that morning, authorities said.

Fort Wayne police were already watching the truck and waiting for its owner, who had been contacted, to come and fetch it after the city’s parking control found it in the lot.

When officers saw the man from the jail get inside, they began to follow the Silverado.

Then they signaled for it to pull over. Instead, the driver fled.

One witness estimated the pickup may have been traveling nearly 90 mph on Main Street.

When the truck crashed, the unrestrained driver was thrown from the vehicle. The pole the truck hit collapsed and landed onto the man’s midsection, police said.

At the scene, rescue workers treated the man while he was on the ground. He appeared conscious and was moving.

He was rushed to a hospital, but his condition was not immediately available.

Charges are pending, police said.

While being close to the crash shook her up a little, Jeffries was glad it didn’t appear – at the time, at least – to have worse consequences, and she was already thinking of what she needed to do next.

“I haven’t called my mom back yet,” she said.