PUTNAM COUNTY, Ind. — Dominique Jackson’s girlfriend said the 32-year-old Indianapolis man feared being pulled over by police.
“He was probably scared and nervous being on the road just by himself just with him and the cop, nobody else is around,” said Nacole Batey. “He always say he wanted to get pulled over in the open because of all the stuff that’s been going on with people that’s been dying for the police stuff that’s been going on. He always wanted to be in front of people if something happened, so he was afraid more so of him being by himself.”
Plainfield police officers pulled Jackson over in his black Chevy Malibu at about 1:20 p.m. Saturday on Main Street at Clark Road.
Jackson’s car was observed “traveling westbound, swerving, and committing traffic violations,” read the Plainfield Police Department media release.
Officers also spotted fresh paint transfer on Jackson’s car, leading them to believe he’d recently been involved in a hit-and-run.
As officers asked Jackson to step out of the car, they said he fled and led them on a 20-mile long pursuit westbound on U.S. 40 to County Road 550 East in Putnam County, where he lost control of the vehicle, rolled and burst into flames.
Jackson was pronounced dead on the scene.
Batey wants to know if Plainfield police followed their own rules on vehicle pursuits.
”I just feel like when there’s another car, when you’re on the highway and there’s other cars on the road, from my knowledge, I thought that you were not supposed to chase anyone because it puts other peoples’ lives in danger even though he was, if they had probable cause or someone called or whatever the scenario might be, I thought in that nature you were just supposed to let them go.”
Jackson crashed in an open rural area on a four-lane divided highway during midday.
The general orders of the Plainfield Police Department spell out under what circumstances a police pursuit may be initiated and when it should be called off. Officers are authorized to begin a pursuit if the fleeing driver is suspected of committing a crime, such as hit-and-run, or is a danger to the public due to erratic driving.
Factors to be considered include: the seriousness of the suspected crime, the importance of protecting the public, the safety of the public and the identity of the suspect has been verified.
Termination of a pursuit is to be based on danger to the public should the pursuit continue, whether the identity of the suspect is known and, “Extended pursuits of violators for misdemeanors not involving violence or weapons… are generally discouraged.”
The general orders continue, “Pursuit of fleeing vehicles that are initiated for traffic violations shall be limited to the incorporated boundaries of the Town of Plainfield and may not continue into other jurisdictions. The act of fleeing by vehicle does not constitute a felony allowing pursuit into other jurisdictions.
“Pursuit driving outside of the incorporated boundaries of the Town of Plainfield is only authorized when an officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that an occupant has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a felony or a misdemeanor offense beyond the act of fleeing alone.”
Plainfield police supervisors are authorized to call off pursuits based on officer reports and radio traffic.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department had encountered Jackson in the Mars Hill community last week and referred him to Eskenazi Health for a medical issue.
The east side Indy resident leaves behind three children.
”He was an educated young guy,” said Batey as her voice cracked and she wiped away tears. “Family oriented. He loved his kids. He loved helping his kids with their homework.”
Following an investigation by Indiana State Police and autopsy by the Putnam County coroner, the Plainfield Police Department Pursuit Review Board is empowered to examine the case.