Mother speaks out after son killed in Indianapolis police chase

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A mother has identified her son as the person killed in Sunday's police pursuit on the northeast side of Indianapolis.

Nicole Fortner is grieving the loss of her 18-year-old son, Dillon Isaiah Fortner.

Police say Fortner died when he hit a tree and a utility pole Sunday at 42nd and Aspen Way after a 10-15 second police pursuit. 

Fortner’s mom is painting a better picture of the hours leading up to the crash on Sunday afternoon.

“He was originally going over to a friend's house that he used to work with. And he decided that he was going to stay the night there,” said Fortner. 

Fortner says Dillon drove home in what he said was his friend's car. His mother then gave him a backpack for his clothes before Dillon left.  

“Then I got a text message at 1:07 p.m. saying, 'I'm on my way home.' I just figured that the boy wasn’t home, and he just had to come home for a little while,” said Fortner. 

 About ten minutes later, she says a neighbor came beating on her door telling her that her son was dead. But she couldn’t believe it.

“It wasn’t him. It couldn’t be him. It just couldn’t be him,” said Fortner. 

On Sunday, police say they were called to 42nd and Post Rd. for a narcotics complaint. In the process, they saw an unrelated vehicle violate a traffic law and refused to stop. The driver was Dillon, who police say was driving at a high rate of speed.

Fortner believes her son ran out of fear but wants to know why police ran after him. 

“I think he was scared. He knew he didn’t have a license. I don’t think Dillon knew the car was stolen. Dillon told me it was his friend's car.”

Police have yet to confirm that the car was stolen, and they have yet to provide a police report.

“What we can say is this is always tragic when this happens,” said IMPD Public Relations Sgt. Grace Sibley. 

According to IMPD’s general orders for vehicle pursuits, pursuit driving shall only be permitted in the following circumstances:

  • On sight pursuit of a person who has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a felony;
  • On sight pursuit of a traffic offense or misdemeanor violator when the violation has been witnessed by the pursuing member; and
  • When ordered by a ranking officer to assist the primary pursuit vehicle.

It’s a policy IMPD has been revising for years.

“We are still working on it. We are still working with the committee to piece it together, and this is yet another reason why we need to get that nailed down right now,” said Sgt. Sibley. 

There are still a number of questions we are waiting for police to answer. Right now, they will only say this is an ongoing investigation. IMPD says they will not reveal the new changes to the pursuit policy until all officers are trained and the policy is finalized. 

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