Newburgh man on motorcycle hits Evansville police car during pursuit

EVANSVILLE, Ind. - EVANSVILLE — A Newburgh man was hospitalized and arrested Saturday morning after crashing his motorcycle into an Evansville Police Department cruiser during a pursuit.

According to a police report, Benjamin Burtis Claspell, 26, was traveling northbound on North Main Street at around 2 a.m. Saturday on what officers originally believed to be a moped, the Evansville Courier & Press reported.

Police said officers at the intersection of John and Main streets watched Claspell run a red light at the intersection and attempted to stop him. Claspell continued on North Main Street before turning several times to evade police.

The "moped" reached 45 mph, at which point Indiana statute qualifies it as a motorcycle. Additional officers joined the pursuit and found Claspell heading southbound on North Main Street where he ran more red lights.

Officers spotted Claspell on Second and Locust streets driving into the old Integra Bank parking lot. A police cruiser cut Claspell off at the parking lot exit. The report says Claspell had at least 30 feet on each side of the cruiser to maneuver around but the motorcycle lost control and hit the vehicle broadside.

Claspell was taken to Deaconess Hospital for medical treatment. No serious injuries were listed in the report. A blood test showed he had a blood alcohol content of .265, more than three times the legal limit for driving.

Claspell’s driver’s license had been suspended for multiple infractions. He is currently booked in the Vanderburgh County jail on charges of resisting law enforcement, drunk driving, driving with a suspended license, and disregarding traffic signals.

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