WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - The West Lafayette man who lead police on a pursuit through two counties Thursday night is no stranger to law enforcement. He was involved in a police-action shooting almost a decade ago.
"The best thing to do is just to pull over," said Captain Gary Sparger with the West Lafayette Police Department.
But pulling over wasn't in the plan for 43-year-old Joseph Radzikowski. Radzikowski led police on a pursuit through West Lafayette, Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, and White County. It all started when Radzikowski failed to stop while officers were directing traffic after a wreck at Northwestern Avenue and Cherry Lane in West Lafayette.
"And the fact of the matter is, the gentleman just refused and actually accelerated towards the officer and nearly missed him," said Sparger.
The pursuit started after officers tried to pull him over at Northwestern and Lindberg Road. Radzikowski went through West Lafayette, through Lafayette to the south side, and back through West Lafayette. He was following all traffic regulations like the speed limits and stopping at lights. He took State Road 43 to I-65, which is where the chase was terminated for a short period because of excessive speeds. Sparger said a judgment call has to be made when a pursuit becomes too dangerous.
"You can't ever let a pursuit outweigh the safety of the citizens. You can't pursue a vehicle with impunity, you have to pay attention to what's going on around you," said Sparger.
Radzikowski eventually got off the interstate in White County and the pursuit picked back up on State Road 18 to southbound State Road 43 in Tippecanoe County. Stop sticks were put out near Soldiers Home Road and his tires were deflated, forcing him to stop. Sparger said it's still unclear why Radzikowski never stopped for police. There wasn't a warrant out for his arrest and he didn't have anything illegal in his possession.
"People run for various reasons. They're scared, they don't want to face the consequences of what they've already done, things like that. That could have very well played into this gentleman's thought process that night, I don't really know," said Sparger.
In 2004, News 18 reported Radzikowski was involved in a police-action shooting. Lafayette police told Radzikowski to get out of his vehicle, but instead he took off, putting officers at risk. Seven rounds were fired by an officer and Radzikowski was shot in the knee. Radzikowski pleaded guilty to resisting law enforcement, criminal recklessness, and being a habitual offender. He was sentenced to 6 years in prison, followed by 2 years on probation.
For Thursday night's incident, he faces charges of criminal recklessness with a vehicle and resisting law enforcement.
Nobody was injured during the pursuit.
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