By on March 22, 2018

Indiana State Police proudly announced the capture of a speed demon who was ripping down the highway at over twice the legal limit. The diver, 38-year old J. Jesus Duran Sandoval, was allegedly trying to break the sound barrier on the Indiana Toll Road Tuesday evening when he hurtled past an officer at an extremely high rate of speed.

State Trooper Dustin Eggert, who was merging back into traffic after helping a broken down motorist near the 45 mile marker, took chase but found the 707-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat difficult to keep up with. At one point he found himself driving 150 miles an hour, noting that the vehicle he was pursuing continued to pull away as he radioed for backup. 

Eggert eventually caught up to the Hellcat after it became blocked by two semis driving next to each other. The official stop occurred 11 miles after the initial encounter. According to the press release, Sandoval — a resident of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin — admitted he actually exceeded 160 mph during some points of the trip and was “just trying to get to Maryland.”

While there are definitely safer ways to make that journey, it would be hypocritical for me many of us to criticize Sandoval for speeding during a lengthy road trip through the Midwest. Obviously, 160 mph is a bit excessive, but let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

Truth be told, it probably would have been safer for Eggert to have hung back after radioing ahead than entering into a high-speed chase. Police pursuits have killed thousands of innocent bystanders over the years. But Eggert operated within the scope of the law and Indiana has some of the most boring, arrow-straight, wide-open roads in the entire country. If we aren’t going criticize Sandoval for speeding, we certainly can’t condemn the officer that chased him on his home turf.

Besides, the Indiana State Police seems very proud of its catch. The press release even makes mention that the agency “tamed” the Hellcat and provided photographic proof that it was indeed the 707-horsepower Dodge. It’s akin to a fisherman reeling in a 20-pound bass, and we can’t begrudge them their trophy.

The troopers arrested Sandoval on a preliminary charge of reckless driving and chauffeured him to the LaPorte County Jail. Still, the Indiana State Police conceded that all suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. It also said this was the second incident in the last two weeks where a driver was nabbed traveling in excess of 130 miles per hour on the Indiana Toll Road. Noting the catastrophic nature of a crash at that speed, the department said it is dedicated to traffic enforcement on all of the state’s roads and will take necessary action.

[Images: Indiana State Police]

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66 Comments on “Maryland or Bust(ed): Driver Nabbed Going Over 160 MPH in Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat...”


  • avatar
    Sub-600

    What would J. Jesus drive?

  • avatar
    Chris from Cali

    Jesus built my hot rod…

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    BTSR is that you?!?

  • avatar
    cicero1

    If Jesus cannot cast out Demons, who can?

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    I want to tut-tut and talk about how Mr. Sandoval endangered the lives of everyone on the highway when he pulled this stunt.

    I really, really want to.

    But…

  • avatar
    JimC2

    It’s “high speed,” not “high rate of speed.” If the car was accelerating rapidly when it passed the cop *then* it would be “high *rate* of speed.” Your high school English teachers and science teachers are shaking their heads in dismay right now.

    Urban Dictionary has a more pointed and unkind entry for “high rate of speed.”

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I have to say one person doing 160 is a accident waiting to happen, toss his DL in the river , but the cop should have known 150 is just doubling the accident waiting to happen, I think plenty of us can toss the stone , no triple digits on a US Highway sounds pretty reasonable. No reason for the cop to do 150 when he had other options, let the flaming begin.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      Agreed.

      We all know, you can’t outrun Motorola.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      I admittedly did triple digit speeds near Dekalb IL and even met a patrol car comping from the other direction that did absolutely nothing towards us. At that time I was barely passing minivans as there was a tornado on the other side of the road and I think he was going to help the people stranded at the overflowing shelter.

    • 0 avatar
      ct06033

      You know, a few weeks ago, I would have said the same thing. I have always been one to poopoo our notion of speed limits and safety but agree with excessive differentials in speed.

      Then I drove on the Autobahn.

      Now, i think it is all about education and regulation. My reasoning for this is most people think the autobahn is a free for all with everyone going 100+ but that simply isnt the case. You still have lorries and econoboxes going the previous limit (75-80 in freedom units) and some faster cars doing 120mph+ and no accidents happen. the reason is lane keeping is heavily enforced and you simply dont wander into the left lane if you arent passing and you minimize the time spent in that lane. Alternatively, if you are the one doing 120mph+, you yeild to slower traffic. its all very orderly and i didnt see any panic stops or unsafe driving during my several hours on German highways.

      Point being, from a safety perspective, on a long straight highway with good visibility, and a modern, well maintained car, there’s nothing unsafe about this.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    What do the Indiana SP drive?

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    The problem with very high speeds on US highways is that other drivers don’t expect them. When passing much slower traffic, there is a very real danger that one of them may not look far enough back to see you before pulling into your lane. That’s not an issue on deserted roads with good visibility far ahead.

    Twenty-five years ago, I drove my wife and mother-in-law to and from Winnipeg, Manitoba via I-29 through North and South Dakota. Especially in North Dakota, the highway was virtually deserted. I might see one vehicle before the next rise three or four miles away. That got me wondering how fast I could reasonably have gone. Certainly, it would have been much faster than the 65 mph national speed limit which had not yet been repealed. The limitation would have been vertical irregularities in the road surface rather than curves since the highway was mostly straight.

    Eleven years ago, while I was shopping for an automotive retirement present for myself, I lurked on several brand/model forums. A guy with a Porsche Cayman talked about 160 mph for an extended distance over a remote highway in Nevada. He got away with it because there was no one around, especially cops, to notice him. Had he wrecked, his corpse might have lain undiscovered for days but that would have been his problem.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      This is the key as to how dangerous it was. If you’re doing 160mph in a deserted area and never see a car, I don’t care. As soon as you see a car, your speed needs to drop A LOT. This even includes if you see a car on the other side of a divided highway. Your accident should be yours alone.

      In this case, I get the impression that the roads weren’t deserted.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      In my past job when I was travelling to Dog-forsaken places like Malta, Montana regularly, I tended to crank up the rental cars about as far as they would go out in the boondocks. This was around the turn of the century. Even on a Montana 2-lane, 100-105mph was a complete doddle in a Taurus or GM Oldsmobuick rental. Interstate was just foot down and go. My record was 300 miles from Denver airport to Northeastern Wyoming in 3hrs flat in a Mitsubishi Gallant. Obviously, any sign of traffic or civilization and I brought it back down to something a lot closer to the speed limit. Only got pinched once, in Montana, for 88 in a 70 on one of those very rural 2-lanes. $40 ticket, paid on the spot, have a nice day.

      I’m much slower in my old age, at least when I am in the middle of nowhere by myself.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Malta? How random.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          I installed Point-of-Sale systems in mom and pop hardware stores all over the country. If there was a cornfield with a hardware store nearby, I have probably been there.

          Have you been to Malta? My condolences. Though it isn’t as mind-numbingly terrible as Eagle Butte, South Dakota or Langdon, ND. Langdon in the wintertime is a special sort of frozen Hellscape.

    • 0 avatar
      blppt

      This. Its the same argument I make with owners of racing bikes, who poo-poo my anger at them tailgating cars, weaving in and out of traffic at ridiculous speeds.

      “Well, uh, my bike can handle it perfectly safely, bro!”

      Uh, yeah, but thats only if you have no consideration for any other driver on the road.

      Which is funny because I’m sure just about all of them also drive passenger cars at least part of the time.

    • 0 avatar
      ct06033

      I have always been one to poopoo our notion of speed limits and safety but agree with excessive differentials in speed.

      Then I drove on the Autobahn.

      Now, i think it is all about education and regulation. My reasoning for this is most people think the autobahn is a free for all with everyone going 100+ but that simply isnt the case. You still have lorries and econoboxes going the previous limit (75-80 in freedom units) and some faster cars doing 120mph+ and no accidents happen. the reason is lane keeping is heavily enforced and you simply dont wander into the left lane if you arent passing and you minimize the time spent in that lane. Alternatively, if you are the one doing 120mph+, you yeild to slower traffic. its all very orderly and i didnt see any panic stops or unsafe driving during my several hours on German highways.

      Point being, from a safety perspective, on a long straight highway with good visibility, and a modern, well maintained car, there’s nothing unsafe about these speeds.

  • avatar
    Stanley Steamer

    Am I really supposed to believe there is no dash cam video of this event? On the other hand, the speed is not that remarkable. There are plenty of stories of fifth gen. V6 Sonatas built sans speed governor hitting 150 mph. And they were only 240 odd horsepower.

  • avatar
    Zipster

    As our friends from Ontario would say, the provincial police would have confiscated this vehicle and the driver would probably not get it back. So unfair!

  • avatar
    bo darville

    i heard the defendant pulled off to the side of the road after 11 miles because the vehicle ran out of gas even though he had just filled the tank prior to passing the trooper. that’s the wonder of 1950’s nascar/mopar technology that dodge engineers

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Don’t believe everything you read in internet comment sections.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        bo darville: “I heard… 11 miles…”

        Eleven miles would surprise me but the service plazas are, what? Twenty miles apart? And sometimes closed!

        Let’s say he can get 5 MPG at that speed. If the fuel warning dings just after he passes a service plaza, he’ll never make the next one.

        And I would think that’s the big problem with trying to outrun the cops… You’re going to run out of gas but whoever’s chasing you is going to radio for a car with a full tank.

        • 0 avatar
          JMII

          The car has an 18 gallon tank so even at a laughable 1 MPG he could have gone further then just 11 miles. However I’m betting it gets at least 4 MPG (and maybe more) going 160 in a steady cruise state which yields a range of over 50 miles. Per another source the Hell Cat burns fuel at 1.5 gallons per minute, so that’s 27 minutes of run time, giving it an 80 mile range at the stated speed.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “Per another source the Hell Cat burns fuel at 1.5 gallons per minute, so that’s 27 minutes of run time [18 gallon tank], giving it an 80 mile range at the stated speed.”

            Um, might want to double check that math.

            Don’t overlook the obvious- he might have started with a lot less than a full tank.

            1.5gpm sounds right for 700~ish horsepower going flat out.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Haters gonna hate

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Foley

      Did your ’77 Trans Am get better mileage, Bo? I’m guessing not, or you wouldn’t have ended up at the same gas station with Sheriff Justice. Still, you did a nice job of conning him while he was eating that Diablo sandwich and Dr. Pepper.

  • avatar
    AJ

    I actually saw a Hellcat last week here in Indiana in B5 blue. I was surprised how dirty it was! I was more shocked to see its condition then what it was. Locally, Crew Car Wash sells unlimited plans. (lol)

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Am I really supposed to believe cop cars are capable of 150mph? Highly skeptical.

    Honestly I wish the hellcat had gotten away with it.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    What fool is in that big of a hurry to get to Maryland. Out of it or through it perhaps.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Well, I guess the Hellcat’s performance is legit.

  • avatar
    kkt

    If only Mr. Sandoval had read TTAC he would have known to pass the law-abiding traffic on the right shoulder…

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    The article didn’t say if J. Jesus had the red fob in the car. If he only had the black “valet” fob, the Hellcat would have only had 500 hp, a little more than a 392 Challenger. 5.7L Chargers are governed at 145 mph, maybe the police unit doesn’t have that constraint.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Jesus took the wheel

  • avatar
    sgtyukon

    Even if he had made it through Indiana, needing to get to Maryland wouldn’t really work as an excuse. As I understand it, Smokie in Ohio wouldn’t approve of 160 mph either.

  • avatar
    ra_pro

    On American highways that’s a crazy speed with all the lame drivers. It only would have taken one incompetent to make the HellCat fly to the heaven and never land back on Earth. Not that I am judging Jesus just pointing out that the number one problem in NA for driving fast are stupid drivers more so than the speed limits.

  • avatar
    MeJ

    What’s sad is we all know this is so wrong, yet…
    It’s still kind of cool.

  • avatar

    I once traversed Indiana’s wide open, straight, smooth and inviting highway system in a V12 powered BMW 850i armed with an integrated front/rear radar system as well as a Valentine One.

    At absolutely 100% legal speeds, of course.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    If your driving too fast, like you shouldn’t do,
    you can bet your boots, I’m coming after you.
    If you wanna race, then get on a race track,
    cause if you try and run away, I’m gonna bring ya back,
    I’m here to keep all the speeders driving slow,
    I’m just a-doin’ my job, I’m The Highway Patrol
    I’m the highway patrol, the highway patrol,
    my hours are long, and my pay is low.
    But I’ll do my best to keep you driving slow,
    I’m just a-doin’ my job, I’m The Highway Patrol.

    Highway Patrol – Junior Brown.

  • avatar

    A lot of helicopters can’t go that fast.

    I guess police departments would be wise to purchase Hellcats. In these situations a Crown Vic would be useless.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Let’s separate the theoretical wisdom of going 150-160MPH, from the real world of Indiana roads in March. I haven’t been on the Toll Road this month, but the rest of the roads in the state are just a mess of potholes. I have gone under the speed limit most of this month for that reason alone.

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