Maryland or Bust(ed): Driver Nabbed Going Over 160 MPH in Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
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]
A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.
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