Culver police detail altercation leading to high-speed chase

Culver Citizen
Staff writer

A Culver traffic stop led eventually to a high-speed chase in Fulton County and the arrest of the suspect.

According to information provided by the Culver Police Department, at around 6:37 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 17, a Culver officer was on routine patrol on School Street in Culver. Observing a vehicle exceeding the speed limit there, a traffic stop was initiated on State Road 10 near the Family Dollar store, where the vehicle came to a stop within the parking lot.

During the traffic stop it was found the sole occupant of the vehicle was the driver, identified as 27-year-old Lance A. Walter. While speaking to the driver, the officer discovered items believed to be associated with manufacturing methamphetamine within the vehicle.

The driver was asked to exit the vehicle, during which time the officer was informed the subject had on his possession a razor blade. Shortly thereafter the subject was not complying with demands by the officer and a struggle ensued between the officer and subject which led to a physical altercation between the two.

During the altercation on the ground, Walter grabbed the officer’s firearm holster on his duty belt. While the officer kept the firearm secure within the holster, the officer also attempted to spray Walter with pepper spray as Walter was going toward the drivers door of the vehicle.

With the winter weather conditions, the wind caused the officer to be succumbed by the pepper spray in the air. Walter got back into the vehicle and fled the scene.

The Marshall County Central Dispatch Center was notified of the vehicle description and direction of travel, but was unable to continue pursuit due to complications from the pepper spray. An area dispatch alerted surrounding police units.

The Culver-Union Township Fire Department and EMS were dispatched to the area due to a two-vehicle crash that took place at the same time on SR 10. It was later discovered the contributing factor of the accident was a result of passerby motorists observing the altercation and slowing to stop to assist the officer.

A short time later, law enforcement officers from the Rochester area, which included Rochester Police, Fulton County Sheriff’s Department and the Indiana State Police located and were involved in a vehicle pursuit with the same vehicle. The pursuit ended near the area of East 9th Street in Rochester and the driver was taken into custody.

Culver officers traveled to Rochester and confirmed the driver involved was the same individual involved in the altercation within the town of Culver.

Walter, was arrested in Fulton County for charges relating to Resisting Law Enforcement as well as numerous drug charges pertaining to methamphetamine.

A report by the Culver Police Department was submitted to the Marshall County Prosecutors Office for review of charges stemming from the incident in Culver.

Formal charges from Marshall County include felony counts of: Escape From Lawful Detention, Attempting to Disarm a Law Enforcement Officer, Resisting Law Enforcement as well as infraction violations pertaining to the reason for the traffic stop.

The Marshall County Police Department, Argos Police Department and Starke County Sheriff’s Department responded to the request for assistance in Culver.

The Culver Police Department, on behalf of the officer involved, expressed gratitude to the passerby motorists who were gracious enough to stop and assist the officer.

"Though they did not immediately know the circumstances involved," says the release, "(they knew) only that an officer appeared to need assistance at which time they were willing to help."