Michael J. Landess, 33, of the 13600 block of Pawnee Drive, faces 20 preliminary criminal charges after leading police on three vehicle chases Saturday that included driving through residential yards and farm fields in an attempt to escape.
The preliminary charges filed in Allen Superior Court in once case include resisting law enforcement with a vehicle, receiving stolen auto parts, criminal recklessness and four counts of leaving the scene of an accident.
In the second case, Landess was charged with breaking and entering a dwelling, auto theft, receiving stolen auto parts, three counts of resisting law enforcement, operating a vehicle while intoxicated, two counts of leaving the scene of an accident, three counts of criminal mischief and driving a vehicle without ever obtaining a license.
A Fort Wayne Police Department officer initially made contact with Landess after police received a report at 9:14 a.m. Saturday of an unconscious man sitting in the driver's seat of a running 2000 Dodge Neon on Hidden River Drive near Saddlewood Drive, a probable cause affidavit filed in one case said.
When the officer woke him up, Landess reportedly fled in the vehicle, which police learned had been reported stolen, the affidavit said. The officer chased him in his police vehicle but stopped the pursuit when Landess started driving through yards in a residential neighborhood to try to get away, the affidavit said.
Landess reportedly drove through the chain link fence in one yard, and the property owner followed him, calling police to report Landess was near Wallen and Coldwater roads, the affidavit said. Police pursued him, and Landess reportedly fled north on Coldwater Road and then into a housing addition, where he crashed the Neon into a ditch and fled on foot.
Landess reportedly ran into a home and then fled in the owner's 2004 green Jeep Grand Cherokee, the affidavit said. Police had blocked the entrance to the housing addition, so Landess reportedly drove over a raised median and onto a sidewalk to avoid a police car and "stop sticks" put down by police to puncture the vehicle's tires. He fled east on Dupont Road.
About 4:30 p.m., the Allen County Sheriff's Department received a report of a man passed out in a black 1998 pickup truck in the 20800 block of Woodburn Road. The pickup had been reported stolen in DeKalb County.
When sheriff's officers arrived, they reportedly found the man in the pickup was Landess, a second affidavit said. When they woke him, he fled in the vehicle across soybean and corn fields before abandoning the vehicle and running on foot.
Officers captured him in the 16000 block of Venison Trail after a resident reported seeing someone swimming in the Maumee River, the affidavit said.