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Columbus police chase down stolen bulldozer, arrest driver

Using Bartholomew County's large armored vehicle as a deterrent, officers eventually persuaded the dozer's driver to stop and surrender.

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Columbus police and Bartholomew County Sheriff's deputies teamed up to end a potentially dangerous chase through city streets early Saturday.

The pursuit involved a stolen bulldozer and large armored vehicle and ended with nobody hurt and a suspect in jail.

Around 4 a.m. Columbus Police called for the help of sheriff's deputies in pursuit of a suspected stolen bulldozer that was headed southbound on Central Avenue. from 17th Street in Columbus. 

Officers were able to block intersections and keep light overnight traffic away from the John Deere dozer while they worked on a plan to stop the nearly ten-ton piece of heavy machinery.

Using a public address system to ask the suspect, identified as Adam Jackson, to stop didn't work despite "numerous commands," according to a sheriff's department statement about the incident.

Numerous police cars with emergency lights activated didn't deter Jackson, either. The bulldozer was hardly speeding, with speeds ranging from 3 to 6 mph, but police were concerned that the dozer could do heavy damage in a residential area and cause personal injury or even death to anyone and anything in its way. No standard police vehicles would be capable of stopping it, either.

Eventually, the law enforcement officers brought out the sheriff's large armored vehicle (MRAP) because it had the size and weight to match the dangerous capability of the dozer.  

Deputies pulled up next to the dozer in the MRAP as it was still moving and gave Jackson more loud commands to stop the machine. Jackson eventually complied and stopped and was immediately taken into custody.  

Credit: BCSO
The armored vehicle of the Bartholomew Co. Sheriff's Office sits next to a stolen bulldozer in Columbus, Ind. Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021.

“The MRAP was provided to Bartholomew County at no cost from the federal government," said Chief Deputy Chris Lane in a media release, explaining how it could be deployed to protect lives and property in the most dangerous situations. "We had this situation last night," Lane said. "We don’t like to use this type of tactical vehicle, but we are glad we had it last night."  

Jackson told officers that he was “joyriding.” 

Jackson was transported to the Bartholomew County Jail where he was remanded on the following preliminary charges: resisting law enforcement, vehicle theft, and criminal recklessness. 

Columbus Police said a pursuit involving a bulldozer was a first for them. 

Police did not specify which type of bulldozer or MRAP was used in the incident.