A man in Indiana eluded police for hours while driving a tractor on Monday night. The tw0-hour low speed pursuit began in Indiana after the Adams County Sheriff’s Department was called to a street in Decatur to respond to a call of help needed to stop a tractor that had caused damage to property as well as a police cruiser. The getaway tractor did not stop until it had crossed the Indiana/Ohio state line. Surprisingly, there have been several other occasions in which police were forced to pursue a tractor-driving suspect at ridiculously low speeds.
At approximately 7:30 p.m. on Monday, police arrived at Third Street and discovered a man driving away on a Case International 5130 Farm Tractor. When officers attempted to pull the man over, he refused, and the chase was on. At a dizzying speed of 18 mph, the driver blew through multiple sets of stop sticks placed on the road, leaving several of the tractor’s tires either missing or flat. As funny as it seems, the chase did take a dangerous turn when the driver, Dustin D. Clouse, 20, allegedly aimed the machine at patrol cars and even attempted to swerve into a deputy. Before it was all over, Clouse had managed to hit multiple vehicles. The chase finally ended when the tractor driven by Clouse, of Decatur, Indiana, experienced mechanical problems and was forced to make a stop.
Although police ordered Clouse to turn off the tractor and to step down, he ignored their directions and was eventually tased by a deputy, at which time he became quite compliant, indeed, and was arrested, according to Mercer County Sheriff, Jeff Grey.
As is standard policy when the use of a Taser is involved, Clouse was transported to Mercer Health. Once he had been medically approved to leave the hospital, deputies took him to the Mercer County Adult Detention Facility and charged him with felony fleeing and eluding law enforcement. Additional charges could be forthcoming after review by both the Mercer County and the Adams County Prosecutor’s Offices. Because Clouse crossed state lines on his tractor, he could face charges in both states.
Sheriff Grey admitted that the pursuit was “unusual” and expressed thanks that nobody was injured in the incident. Four agencies were involved in helping to stop the getaway driver before losing his trail, including the Mercer County and Adams County Sheriff’s Offices, the Decatur Police Department and the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
This is not the first time that a tractor has been used in an attempt to flee from police. Estonian police were involved in a 2010 chase involving a stolen New Holland tractor. When police caught up to the tractor by following its tracks, the 31-year-old driver used his cell phone to call the cops and tell them that he had no intention of stopping and planned to kill himself by driving the tractor off a cliff. Police fired multiple shots at the tractor’s front tires in an effort to halt its progress, but were unsuccessful. The pursuit included a total of three squad cars, one of which drove in front of the tractor it was pursuing in order to warn other motorists of the dangerous chase that was ensuing. Alas, the front tires finally went flat and the tractor drove off the road, causing a head injury to poor Kalev. Police took him to a psychiatric clinic. Unbelievably, Kalev was intoxicated at the time.
Washington police also had their hands full in 2013 when a stolen John Deere tractor led them on a 15 mph chase ending with the tractor thief being arrested at gunpoint. Josiah Blodgett, 24, led officers on a four-mile chase after his aunt told police that he was drunk and had just stolen their neighbor’s tractor. When Blodgett finally gave up, about five miles from his home, police discovered a pellet gun which was a replica of a 357 magnum and an unloaded shotgun. He was also charged with a felony eluding as well as the theft of the tractor.
By Jennifer Pfalz