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IMPD: 1 dead, 4 injured when hit-and-run leads to pursuit, crash and car fire

The incident began around 3 a.m. Saturday in the 6200 block of Michigan Road when a man was hit in a parking lot.

INDIANAPOLIS — A driver was arrested for allegedly hitting a pedestrian, leading to a police chase that ended in a deadly crash on Indianapolis' northwest side early Saturday morning. 

Just before 3 a.m., IMPD officers in the 6200 block of Michigan Road saw a silver Pontiac hit a pedestrian and drive away, police said. Officers tried to pull the car over and ended up chasing it. 

The driver of the Pontiac, identified in a police report as 23-year-old Jose Pichardo-Lopez, was driving north on Michigan Road, approaching a red light at West 71st Street, when he hit an uninvolved silver Mazda at the intersection.

The Mazda was pushed through the intersection and caught fire. Police ended their pursuit and shifting into rescue mode.

Officers pulled two trapped victims, a man and a woman, from the burning Mazda, and they were transported to local hospitals. The man was last listed in critical condition and the woman in stable condition at last check.

A third person was trapped in the Mazda, and she was pronounced dead at the scene. Identities of the victims have not been released by authorities.

Pichardo-Lopez was evaluated by medical personnel and taken to a local hospital for a blood draw, which is standard procedure in fatal crashes.

Pichardo-Lopez was arrested and preliminarily charged with the following: 

  1. Resisting law enforcement
  2. OWI resulting in death
  3. OWI (schedule I/II controlled substance) resulting in catastrophic injury
  4. OWI resulting in serious bodily injury
  5. Leaving the scene of an accident with injury
  6. OWI 
  7. OWI, endangering a person
  8. OWI, endangering a person - prior conviction
  9. Criminal recklessness
  10. Driving while suspended, prior conviction within 10 years

IMPD accident investigators responded to the scene and their preliminary findings indicate both speed and alcohol played a role in the incident.

According to online court records, Pichardo-Lopez, who lists an Indianapolis address, has a history of driving under the influence. In April of this year, he was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated - endangering a person. In December of 2021, he was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated - endangering a person, operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration of .15 or more and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

IMPD officers did not strike any vehicles during the incident and no officers were injured, police said. 

An internal investigation is being conducted by IMPD's Internal Affairs unit to determine if officers were in compliance with department policy, which is standard procedure.

The man who was initially struck in the parking lot was last reported to be in stable condition.

Check back for updates.

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