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Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
A Fort Wayne police officer investigates the aftermath of a police chase late Thursday that ended when the driver of a Chevrolet Avalanche struck a tree after hitting a pickup truck.

Charges filed in chase that hurt 2; drugs found

Jashod Jaron Thomas

It began as a traffic stop that turned into a police chase through the narrow side streets of a south-side neighborhood.

A Chevrolet Avalanche fleeing police smashed into a pickup truck at a major intersection, leaving a trail of debris.

The two people in the pickup were taken to a hospital with serious injuries. The two men in the vehicle that police were chasing were identified as gang members who wound up in the Allen County Jail.

Fort Wayne Public Safety Director Rusty York said a police supervisor was monitoring the pursuit. It will be reviewed as part of standard procedure, he said.

The pursuit began just after 10 p.m., when officers spotted the Avalanche speeding near Creighton and Weisser Park avenues.

A check of the vehicle's information showed it was registered to a man with active arrest warrants. When police signaled for the Avalanche to stop at South Hanna and East Lewis streets, it took off.

Tire-shredding stop sticks were laid down at various locations as officers chased the Avalanche for about nine minutes. At the intersection of South Anthony and East Rudisill boulevards, the Avalanche smashed into a pickup truck, police said.

The Avalanche ended up slamming into a tree in front of a nearby home.

The driver of the Avalanche was identified in Allen Superior Court documents as Jashod Jaron Thomas, 22. He is preliminarily charged with a slew of counts, including criminal recklessness resulting in serious bodily injury. Thomas tried to walk away from the accident but was quickly caught, police said.

The passenger in the Avalanche ran from the scene. While police were investigating the crash, officers received word of a burglary attempt nearby in the 3900 block of Lillie Street.

There, they found the passenger, identified in court documents as Nicholas L. Warren. He was taken into custody for an outstanding felony warrant, according to both police and court documents.

In the Avalanche, police found more than 7 grams of marijuana and nearly 6 grams of cocaine, court records said.

Fort Wayne police's newly restructured Gang and Violent Crimes unit was called to investigate. Police identified the men in the Avalanche as gang members. Neither man was registered as owning the vehicle, police said.

The two people in the pickup truck that was hit by the Avalanche were identified in court documents as Louis B. Jones II and Jessie L. Person.

They were in serious condition Thursday night. An update on their condition was not available Friday.