A Sunday night police chase in Goshen ended in the death of the driver, Melvin Bledsoe III, 47, of Goshen. Bledsoe was shot and killed by five year veteran of the Goshen Police Department, Joshua M. Havens.
The chase started after an officer with the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department stopped Bledsoe's Ford pickup truck. It happened in the area of State Road 15 and County Road 40 around 10 p.m. Sunday night.
Police say Bledsoe accelerated as the deputy approached his vehicle and then drove off. The deputy tailed Bledsoe's truck for roughly four miles as it entered Goshen. At that point, the Goshen Police Department joined in on the pursuit.
The chase ended after ten minutes when Bledsoe crashed his truck into the main building at Faubian Plumbing, Heating & A/C Inc. The business located in the 700-block of E. Lincoln Ave. saw nearly $10,000 in damage.
Police say Bledsoe tried to dislodge his truck from the building by flooring the accelerator as police surrounded him. After refusing to stop, Bledsoe was shot once in the neck.
"You could see the black where the tires were just spinning and there was a lot of glass and a lot of rubber and we've cleaned that up,” Owner Gregory Faubion said.
Workers mixed water with Pine-Sol, in attempt to erase a bad memory. Yet, they quickly learned some things just can't be scrubbed away.
"Right here, we're always going to know it and always be aware of what happened and that's something we'll have to adjust to, but it will always be there,” Faubion added.
After searching Bledsoe’s pick-up, police say they did not locate guns, drugs or alcohol. However, based off the way Bledsoe drove, police tend to believe he may have been under the influence. Investigators will not know for sure, until toxicology results are released in the next two weeks.
Indiana State Police are investigating the shooting, which is standard in officer involved shootings.
No police officers were injured in the pursuit. However, both a Goshen and Elkhart County squad car were seriously damaged.
A longtime Goshen resident, Bledsoe lived at 61156 State Road 15 with his girlfriend of 15 years.
Elkhart County records indicate Bledsoe has a lengthy criminal record:
3/07/1991 – Battery with a Weapon
6/4/1995 – DWI – Misdemeanor
9/20/1996 – DWI – Misdemeanor
9/20/1996 – Contempt
8/29/2000 – Driving While Suspended
9/17/2002 – Possession of Marijuana
9/17/2002 – Nonsupport of a Child
12/18/2002 – Possession of Marijuana
12/18/2002 – Nonsupport of a Child
3/26/2006 – Possession of Marijuana
3/26/2006 – Nonsupport of a Child
5/30/2008 – Nonsupport of a Dependent Child