LaPorte Traffic Stop Results in Arrest of Violent Fugitive

Officer and suspect injured in foot chase which resulted in arrest of man wanted for armed robber, identity theft and escape

May 14, 2017-The LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department says a routine traffic stop turned into a foot chase that resulted in the arrest of a violent fugitive who was wanted in two states. According to the statement from La Porte County Sheriff John Boyd, “On Saturday May 13, 2017 La Porte County Sheriff’s Deputy Jon Samuelson made a traffic stop on a vehicle for a speeding violation on US 20 east of SR 39.” During the course of the investigation officers noticed a very strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. Officers then noticed “a very large amount” of credit cards that were partially concealed near the center console of the vehicle.

As officers began to handcuff the occupants of the vehicle, one man fled on foot. “The passenger was in the process of running down a steep embankment on the north side of US 20 when he was caught by Sergeant Hannon and Deputy Samuelson however he then began to physically resist being handcuffed. Deputy Samuelson deployed his Taser using a drive stun technique in the suspect’s right shoulder and upper back. The Taser had the desired affect and the suspect was then handcuffed. The driver of the vehicle, a 34-year-old from Chicago, Illinois, obeyed deputies commands to remain near the car and was compliant during the entire incident. He was later released from the scene” the report continues.

The suspect was then transported to the LaPorte County Hospital where it was determined that he head a broken ankle according to Police. Sergeant Hannon also suffered minor abrasions to his right forearm due to the altercation with the suspect according to Sheriff Boyd.

Once the suspect had been released from the hospital he was transported to the La Porte County Jail for processing. The suspect continued to maintain that he was Jonathan Cooke and that he had no previous arrests. Because they suspected he was not telling the truth deputies sent a photograph of the suspect to the Chicago Police who maintain facial recognition software. It took Chicago police approximately 30 minutes to determine that the suspect’s true identity was Norman Edward Smith of Chicago, Illinois. Having his correct identity, deputies were able to discover that Smith was wanted on two outstanding warrants in the state of Wisconsin; one warrant for escape and a second warrant for failure to appear for an armed robbery charge. Smith was also wanted for failure to appear for felony identity theft warrant in Cook County, Illinois.
The vehicle, a black 2016 Nissan Altima, was impounded a search warrant was requested through the La Porte County Prosecutor’s Office. La Porte Superior Court Judge Greta Friedman approved the search warrant for the vehicle. During the subsequent search of the vehicle a total of 54 credit cards were found as well as 22 cartons of Newport cigarettes along with 34 loose packs of Newport brand cigarettes. It is suspected that the credit cards are fraudulent and may have been used to purchase the cigarettes. The investigation into the credit cards in continuing with a call for assistance from the United States Secret Service.
Norman Edward Smith was found to have a lengthy criminal history including credit card forgery, resisting arrest, unauthorized use of an identity, armed robbery, theft, aggravated battery with a firearm, possession of a controlled substance and operating while intoxicated. Smith is being charged in La Porte Superior Court #4 with the charges listed below.
· Resisting Law Enforcement~ “A” misdemeanor
· Possession of Marijuana~ “B” misdemeanor
· Fraud~ level 6 felony
· Counterfeiting~ level 6 felony
· Counterfeiting a Government Document~ “A” misdemeanor
· Identity Deception~ level 6 felony
· False Identity Statement~ “A” misdemeanor
Norman Edward Smith is currently lodged in the La Porte County Jail and is scheduled to appear in La Porte Superior Court #4 on Monday May 15, 2017 at 9:00 AM (CST).
La Porte County Sheriff John Boyd praised the efforts of Deputy Samuelson who recently received training in drug interdiction. Sheriff Boyd was also thankful that Sergeant Hannon suffered only minor injuries while taking the suspect into custody. “There are two major points that stand out from this case; first and foremost is the incredibly inherent danger that our deputies face each day. This was a traffic stop that rapidly turned into a serious felony case in a matter of seconds. Secondly, I hope that the public sees the efforts being put forth by the patrol deputies of the sheriff’s office. With the high frequency of crashes on this particular stretch of US 20 our deputies have continued their increased presence. It is this type of dedication and attention to duty that led to the arrest of a felon and fugitive.”

All suspects are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law. A criminal charge is not evidence of guilt.

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