MUNCIE — If there’s such thing as a low-speed police chase, two Ball State University police officers found themselves smack dab in the middle of one Saturday morning.
Police reports indicate Robert J. Garrett got every bit of energy out of his mo-ped in the six-minute pursuit, but in the end, the 49-year-old Muncie man was caught by the officers and jailed on a preliminary charge of resisting law enforcement, a Class D felony.
According to a probable cause affidavit and police scanner traffic, Ball State officers Caitlyn Morency and Matt Gaither observed Garrett driving his mo-ped on Tillotson Avenue Saturday morning around 10:12 a.m. with a female passenger “standing up close to the handlebars in a position where (Garrett) couldn’t see.”
The officers indicated Garrett swerved across all four lanes of traffic on Tillotson, causing several cars to swerve and narrowly miss his mo-ped. Garrett, who then dropped off the woman at a nearby convenience store, was confronted by Morency and Gaither, who opened his door to tell Garrett to approach the police car.
Garrett allegedly answered with an obscenity and took off north on Tillotson before winding through several nearby roads. He ended up on the railroad tracks near the intersection of White River Boulevard and Godman Avenue, where his mo-ped stopped running while he was apparently trying to drive down the tracks on the bridge towards Beech Grove Cemetery.
Garrett then “tried to run down the embankment, but fell at the bottom,” where the officers ordered him to his stomach at gunpoint. He was found with several drill bits, screwdrivers, a pocket knife and a “large amount of loose quarters,” police say.
Ball State detective Kent Kurtz said Saturday night that he was aware of Garrett’s record, which involved several allegations of Garrett stealing money from vending machines, though no theft reports had been made yet regarding Saturday’s arrest.
In two recent instances, charges of vending machine vandalism were dropped against Garrett; in those cases, he was instead convicted of criminal conversion (2009) and theft (2007).
Garrett has also been convicted of resisting law enforcement (2005), attempted theft (2004), driving while suspended (2003), unlawful possession or use of a legend drug (1999), conversion and possession of drug paraphernalia (1997) and burglary (1992).
Garrett was released Saturday evening after posting a $5,000 bond at the Delaware County jail.