2 wrecks and 2 torn quads: Charges in police chase

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – An Angolan man accused of causing a shipwreck and then leading police on a foot chase that left an officer with torn quadriceps muscles in both legs now faces a felony charge and a series of misdemeanors.

Allen County prosecutors on Thursday formally charged Zachariah P. Gruber, 41, was charged with a Level 6 felony of criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon and various misdemeanors of resisting arrest and leaving the scene of an accident causing injury.

Gruber was accused of driving a black Jeep Renegade into the back of a Dodge Ram pickup truck near the intersection of Coliseum Boulevard and Speedway Drive late last afternoon.

After crashing into the pickup truck, Gruber turned into a used car lot and ran away from the scene, with the pickup truck driver following him while calling police, according to Allen Superior Court documents.

Zechariah b. Grouper

Gruber was then accused of running a red light at Lima Road and West Washington Center Road and crashing into a GMC Acadia SUV. The Acadia’s driver suffered chest pain during the crash, court documents said.

After grabbing his phone from the Jeep, Gruber fled on foot, according to court documents. Witnesses gave police a description of what Gruber was wearing, and an officer spotted him walking down Cross Creek Avenue toward Ludwig Road a short time later.

The officer noticed a fresh scratch on Gruber’s cheek, but when asked how he got it, Gruber denied having a facial scratch, court documents said.

When the officer told Gruber to stay where he was, Gruber ran away, according to court documents.

The officer pursued Gruber but he tore the quadriceps tendon in his legs — which in many cases requires surgery — and was unable to continue, according to court documents.

Investigators at the scene of the second crash found a bottle of prescription medication in the Jeep with Gruber’s name on the label.

Police then tracked Gruber’s cell phone use and found him in Churubusco, court documents said.

The Fort Wayne Police Department’s Gang and Violent Crimes Unit, its Street Crimes Unit, the Detective Bureau and members of the Churubusco Police Department played a role in Gruber’s arrest, according to court documents.

When questioned by police, Gruber said in court documents that he ran from the officer as soon as the officer took the handcuffs off of him.

Gruber was initially booked into the Allen County Jail last Friday on a $2,500 bond on a preliminary charge of criminal recklessness, and Gruber was able to post bail.

After prosecutors formally charged him on Thursday, an arrest warrant was issued for him and he was remanded to jail shortly thereafter.

Gruber is now being held without bond because his arrest could violate his probation in another case.

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