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Police chase ends in icy Fort Wayne pond

Monday, February 18, 2013 - 2:52 pm

A Fort Wayne man faces multiple charges related to drunken driving after he crashed his vehicle into an icy retention pond while allegedly fleeing police early Sunday morning.

Jason D. Harrison, 32, allegedly led police on a 1.8-mile chase after an officer looked up Harrison's registration and tried to stop him for driving with a suspended license, according to Fort Wayne Police reports and a department spokeswoman.

The high-speed pursuit started just after 12:30 a.m. near the intersection of State Boulevard and Reed Road and wove through several neighborhoods before Harrison's vehicle landed in an ice-covered pond southeast of Reed and Lake Avenue, the reports said.

Police found Harrison's vehicle, with a female passenger still inside, in about 4 feet of frigid water, the reports said. Officers subdued Harrison on foot at the east end of the pond after he allegedly swam to shore and kept fleeing, the reports said.

According to the reports, Harrison refused to cooperate with a blood-alcohol test. He was convicted of a previous drunken-driving charge in 2008, according to court records.

Harrison was jailed in the Allen County Lockup on preliminary charges of operating while intoxicated, endangerment and two counts of resisting law enforcement. No formal charges had been posted Monday afternoon in Allen County Superior Court's online records.

A Fort Wayne Fire Department water rescue team pulled the female passenger – who was screaming that "my legs are on fire" because of the extreme cold – from the vehicle, the reports said.

The female passenger told police that she had met Harrison at a local bar, where she had consumed four vodka drinks. She had "passed out" and slept through the chase but woke up to the cold water, she told police, according to the reports.