A $10,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the driver who struck four correctional officers jogging along a Crown Point, Ind., road Tuesday night.
One of the officers, Britney Meux, died at the scene. Three others -- David Murchek, Delano Scaife and Latasha Johnson -- were injured. Scaife, 22, was in critical condition Wednesday at the Indiana University School of Medicine.
Lake County Sheriff John Buncich said the officers were jogging eastbound on 93rd Avenue, near the jail complex in Crown Point at about 7 p.m. Tuesday, when a dark-colored SUV or pickup truck drove into the group from behind, breaking off the vehicle's right, passenger-side mirror. Buncich showed off that mirror at a Wednesday press conference, saying authorities believe it came from a either a 1999-2006 GMC Sierra or 2003-2006 GMC Yukon.
Officers were hopeful repair shops would keep an eye out for the vehicle, which likely has damage to the passenger front light, the fog light and the hood area, said Buncich. Surveillance video from several buildings in the area was being reviewed. Buncich said one camera recorded a vehicle leaving the complex without its lights on shortly before the crash, but he couldn't say for certain it was the vehicle involved.
The officers were jogging single file "off the roadway" under sufficient lighting as part of a training exercise for the department's Special Operations Response Team when they were hit, Buncich said. They weren't wearing any clothing that would have identified them as law enforcement, he said.
Buncich said it doesn't appear the driver made any attempt to stop or slow down before hitting the officers, but stopped short of saying it was intentional.
Meux, a former United States Marine and a three-year veteran of the force, was the mother of a 5-month-old daughter named Savannah, said Buncich. Her death would be classified as being in the line of duty, he said.
"This is a very, very sad situation. We lost one of our family last night," said Buncich. "She was little in stature but she was a real go-getter in the department."
At a vigil held in Meux's honor Wednesday night with about 100 people in attendance, her mother said she was the kind of child any parent would want.
"She was a beautiful daughter," said Jackie Meux. "[She was] a young, bright daughter doing all the right things. I think God for my daughter."
Murchek, 26, is a five-year veteran of the department. The officer from Crown Point required surgery for a broken leg. His father, Dan Murchek, is Deputy Chief of Police for the department.
Johnson, 34, is also a five-year veteran. From Gary, Ind., Buncich said Johnson had surgery for a broken arm and internal injuries.
Scaife just joined the force four months ago, said Buncich.
Anyone with information on the crash should call 219-755-3333.
The reward money has been put up by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 125, the Lake county Police Union Local 72, Correctional Officer Union Local 11 and a private donor.
|(L to R) Officers Latasha Johnson, David Murchek and Delano Scaife were also injured in the crash.|