Traffic Stop Leads to Pursuit and Arrest

                      Norman Edward Smith

A Chicago man is in custody after leading two La Porte County Sheriff’s Department deputies on a foot pursuit on Saturday.

Deputy Jon Samuelson conducted a traffic stop for a speeding violation in the area of U.S. 20 east of State Road 39. Deputy Samuelson reportedly observed a large amount of credit cards partially concealed near the center console of the vehicle and he also smelled a strong odor of marijuana.

According to police, Sergeant Adam Hannon arrived at the scene to assist and as the two officers were attempting to take the driver and passenger into custody, the passenger fled on foot. Police say the passenger ran down an embankment. The officers caught up to the suspect, but he would not comply as the officers attempted to restrain him. Deputy Samuelson deployed his taser and the suspect was taken into custody, as stated in a press release. The suspect was injured in the event and was taken to La Porte Hospital. Police learned he broke his left ankle. Sergeant Hannon suffered minor injuries.

Police say the driver, also from Chicago, complied with police and was later released from the scene.

With the help of Chicago Police’s facial recognition software, officers were able to correctly identify the passenger as Norman Edward Smith as he reportedly gave police a false name. They discovered that Smith had two warrants out of the State of Wisconsin for escape and failure to appear for an armed robbery charge. He also has a warrant out of Cook County, Illinois for failure to appear for felony identity theft.

During a subsequent search of the vehicle, police say a total of 54 credit cards were recovered as well as 22 cigarette cartons and 34 loose packs of cigarettes. The U.S. Secret Service has been called for assistance in the credit card investigation.

Smith faces felony charges of fraud, counterfeiting and identity deception, along with misdemeanor charges of resisting law enforcement, possession of marijuana, counterfeiting a government document, and false identity statement. He is set to appear in La Porte Superior Court Monday at 9 a.m. CT for his initial hearing.

Photos provided by the La Porte County Sheriff’s Department.