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Police and fire

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Chris Meyers/The Journal Gazette
Emergency responders gather at the scene where a driver crashed on Airport Expressway after a police pursuit Wednesday night.

Driver crashes, dies after police chase

Debris and wreckage littered the highway Wednesday as a section of Airport Expressway was closed for the evening after a violent crash left one man dead at the end of a police pursuit.

The chase began shortly before 7 p.m. when police went to Southgate Shopping Plaza on a report that there was someone in the area with several warrants for his arrest, according to the Fort Wayne Police Department.

Officers took up posts in the parking lot and eventually saw the man park in the lot, at which point officers approached the van he was in, police said.

The man, whose name was not released, then drove off with a passenger in the van, although he stopped at one point to let the other person out, police said.

As the pursuit continued south, officers put spike strips down at the intersection of Airport Expressway and Bluffton Road and flattened two of the van’s tires.

Undeterred, the man continued south on Airport Expressway until he suddenly crossed into oncoming traffic and into the path of a construction-style pickup truck, police said.

The driver of the pickup truck swerved and tried to miss the van but it steered further into the path of the truck, eventually sideswiping the front and slamming into the left rear wheels, according to the police department.

The driver’s side of the van was destroyed in the impact.

Firefighters had to free the driver from the van and he was taken in critical condition to a local hospital where he died, police said.

The driver of the pickup truck was not injured.

The eastbound lanes of Airport Expressway were closed east of Ardmore AVenue throughout the evening as police gathered evidence and investigated the crash.

cmeyers@jg.net

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