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Police and local briefs

Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 4:00 pm

Man critically injured in Ivy Tech parking lot crash

Fort Wayne Police suspect a medical condition played a role in a one-vehicle accident that left a man in critical condition late Thursday morning.

Police were called at 11:40 a.m. to Ivy Tech's parking lot, 4900 St. Joe Road, after the man's 1997 Cadillac struck a light pole, according to FWPD spokeswoman Raquel Foster.

First responders rendered aid and transported the driver to a local hospital in serious condition. A hospital physician downgraded his condition to critical, according to Foster.

Preliminary reports indicate that the vehicle was going southbound on St. Joe Road and was preparing to turn westbound into the nearby Canterbury apartment complex. According to witnesses, the vehicle accelerated and drove off the road and struck several trees and a large rock. The vehicle then came back onto St. Joe Road eastbound, crossing all lanes of traffic, and over the street median, and continued at a high rate of speed directly into the Ivy Tech parking lot, where it struck the light pole and stopped.

The driver was the sole occupant of the vehicle and was reportedly wearing his seat belt. No other injuries were reported at the scene and no other vehicles struck.

At this time, investigators believe a medical condition might have contributed to the accident. The incident remains under investigation by the Fatal Alcohol Crash Team.

The Fort Wayne Fire Department and Three Rivers Ambulance Authority assisted in the incident.

Reward now $13,000 for tips in credit-union robbery

The reward has been upped to $13,000 for information that leads to the arrest of two suspects in the Oct. 25 robbery of a Fort Wayne credit union.

Police say two men in dark-hooded sweatshirts and black masks ambushed employees of Midwest America Federal Credit Union, 1021 Swinney Ave., before the credit union opened and demanded cash before fleeing the scene.

Authorities had already offered a $2,000 reward for information that leads to arrests in the case.

On Friday, police responded to a second robbery – this time at Chase Bank, 2601 Lower Huntington Road – that also was allegedly carried out by two men in dark masks and “hoodies.”

Fort Wayne Police have responded to 11 bank or credit union robberies this year – more than double the total of five in 2011 – according to police spokeswoman Officer Raquel Foster.

Police: Man drives car for mile on railroad

Fort Wayne Police say a man drove his car on a railroad line for more than a mile before stopping at an old elevated train station downtown.

Police say the man apparently got onto the tracks after becoming confused while turning to avoid a water main break late Wednesday. Police told WANE-TV that the man told officers he was looking for a way off the tracks but saw a light behind him that he thought was an approaching train.

The driver stopped his car on the tracks at the old train station and called for help.

Police didn't ticket the driver, but said he could be subject to a trespassing complaint from Norfolk Southern and be held financially responsible for removing his car from the tracks and other costs.

Norfolk Southern spokesman Dave Pidgeon said he could not comment because an investigation was ongoing.

Fort Wayne Police chase burglary suspect

A call from someone suspicious of a man seen near a home while the occupants were at work led to Fort Wayne Police chasing a burglary suspect in the Paulding Road area Thursday morning.

Police followed the man to the 2200 block of Paulding Road after 11 a.m. then brought in a K-9 to help track his trail, according to scanner traffic. The man had dropped items while he was fleeing and was reportedly wearing a red-and-blue jacket and dark pants.

Police were also looking at a car that was parked in the driveway of a nearby vacant home to see if it was connected to the crime.

State denies Huntertown's bid for sewer plant

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management has formally denied Huntertown’s plan to build its own sewage treatment plant, affirming its preliminary decision released in August.

IDEM said in a statement its decision was intended to protect the water quality of the Geller Ditch, into which the town had intended to discharge its treated wastewater.

The town had hoped to build its own $11 million plant near Lima and Hathaway roads to gain independence from Fort Wayne City Utlilities. Disagreements over rates and other issues have long created tension between the two sides. The town has about two weeks to decide whether to appeal.

Smoking banned in Fort Wayne public housing

Effective Jan. 1, smoking will be prohibited inside apartments rented from The Fort Wayne Public Housing Authority. Residents also will be prohibited from smoking anywhere else in the buildings or within 20 feet of the buildings.

The housing authority's board approved the smoking ban, supported by results of an August 2011 survey in which a majority of residents supported the smoking ban.

A news release on the ban from the American Lung Association said residents will begin signing lease addendums in which the head of each household will agree that each household member and guest or visitor shall obey the smoking restrictions imposed by the board.

More information about no-smoking housing or the Freedom from Smoking smoking-cessation program can be found at www.LungIN.org or by contacting Lindsay Grace at the American Lung Association in Indiana at 317-819-1181.

Part of Cook Road to close for 6 weeks

Cook Road will be closed to all traffic at Auburn Road for about six weeks, according to the city traffic department.

The closure, which was set to begin Thursday, would allow a contractor to reconstruct Cook at its approach to Auburn, the traffic department said in a news release.

A detour route will be established using Auburn, Coldwater and Wallen roads. Auburn will remain open during the closure, the news release said.

Ceremony to close stretch of Maplecrest

Part of Maplecrest Road will be closed Friday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Maplecrest extension.

Maplecrest's northbound lanes will be closed between Parrott Road and West Indiana 930 from 1-3 p.m.

The 1.5-mile extension, which runs from Lake Avenue south to connect Maplecrest with Adams Center Road in New Haven, cost about $30 million to build.

Wartell among Louisiana candidates

Fourteen applicants to lead Louisiana's largest university system include university chancellors, former chancellors and department heads from Maine to the Midwest.

The applicants include Michael A. Wartell, chancellor emeritus and chemistry professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne; Gary M. Lawler, chancellor of Pennsylvania State University's Hazleton campus; and Lesley Lovett-Doust, who resigned in February as president and vice chancellor at Nipissing University in Ontario, Canada.

Wartell wrote that during the 18 years he was chancellor at IPFW, the campus has nearly doubled the number of credit hours taken each semester, increased the percentage of full-time students from 35 percent to more than 60 percent, increased endowment from $17 million to $53 million, increased the number of endowed chairs from one to 11 and added more than 40 new programs.

He was forced to retire under a Purdue policy at the end of the last school year because he was turning 65 this year.

Verify your homestead deduction by Jan. 1

Allen County homeowners who have not verified that their homestead deduction is properly in place should do so before Jan. 1 as required under a 2009 state law.

The verification form has been included in spring tax statements each of the past three years, but the County Auditor's office also offers a searchable database. Taxpayers who find their properties on the list should complete the verification form found there if that property is their primary residence. Searches can be conducted by name or address. Auditor Tera Klutz said 78 percent of county homeowners have already completed this process.

The database can be found at www.allencountyauditor.us. Questions should be directed to the Auditor's office by calling 449-7241 or by email at acauditor@allencounty.us