ISP: Man led police on 10 mph chase, swerved at cops and crashed into squad cars on NW Indiana interstate

LAKE COUNTY, Ind. — An Illinois man was arrested Wednesday afternoon after Indiana State Police say he led troopers on a 10 mph chase down a northwest Indiana interstate before intentionally driving at police and crashing into multiple squad cars.

According to ISP, a Lake County trooper was patrolling Interstate 65 southbound near the scale barn when a person told them that a car was driving 5 mph in the right lane and endangering other drivers.

The trooper, ISP said, soon spotted a white 2023 Chevrolet Silverado driving 8 mph in the right lane. Police said the trooper tried to pull the car over to investigate the slow driving, but the driver refused to stop and almost hit pedestrians on the shoulder.

“A pursuit was initiated as the vehicle’s driver refused to stop,” an ISP release said. “The pursuit continued southbound where the vehicle almost struck a parked semi, with pedestrians standing outside of the semi, as it was disabled on the right shoulder.”

ISP said several troopers made multiple attempts to “deescalate the situation by using stop-sticks” but were at first unsuccessful. Eventually, the suspect’s driver-side tire began deflating but troopers said the car continued moving and soon began “intentionally” driving toward them.

“The driver continued to flee southbound at approximately 10 mph and as another trooper attempted to deploy stop sticks, the driver of the Chevrolet appeared to intentionally swerve towards the trooper,” ISP said. “The pursuit continued southbound where the suspect vehicle proceeded to intentionally ram a state police car.”

Troopers said that the Chevy then was “forced to drive into a median” near mile-marker 238 on I-65. According to ISP the car initially stopped and troopers started moving toward it, but then the driver “suddenly accelerated” toward police and started ramming several squad cars.

The pursuit then continued as ISP said the suspect drove northbound in southbound lanes of I-65 and was eventually forced to drive into a western grassy ditch. However, police said the driver continued to ram cars.

“While attempting to drive back onto the interstate, the suspect rammed a Jasper County Sheriff’s Department police car four times until the suspect vehicle became disabled against the police car,” ISP said.

Police said the suspect, later identified as 45-year-old Thomas J. Sanhamel of West Chicago, Illinois, was then handcuffed and arrested without further incident after a K-9 was deployed.

Sanhamel, ISP said, was later taken to Franciscan Health Hospital in Crown Point for treatment of minor injuries. Three ISP troopers were also treated for minor injuries at the scene but weren’t hospitalized.

In total, ISP said that three state police cars were damaged by the suspect’s car during the pursuit in addition to the Jasper County sheriff’s car.

Sanhamel was later taken to the Lake County Jail after being released from the hospital, ISP said. He is now being held on a preliminary 48-hour hold for charges that will later be determined by the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office.