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Man dragged 2 Ind. officers with SUV, ran over one of them, court records allege

While the officers were arresting the man, he was able to get back in his SUV and drag both officers for several feet

By Sarah Reese
The Times

CROWN POINT, Ind. — A man awoke a Dyer couple about 5:10 a.m. Monday by repeatedly ringing their doorbell, dragged two sheriff’s officers with his SUV and ran over one of them and was arrested in St. John while attempting to change a flat tire, court records allege.

Ernest L. Hoover Jr., of Chicago, left the Dyer couple’s home before police arrived, but he returned about 6:15 a.m. and again began repeatedly ringing their doorbell and walking back and forth from their porch to a Cadillac SUV parked in their driveway in the 15000 block of West 103rd Avenue, court records state.

The couple again called police, and Lake County sheriff’s Officer Alex Gallegos arrived and began talking with Hoover, according to Lake Criminal Court records.

Gallegos determined Hoover had an active warrant in Lake County and attempted to take Hoover into custody, but Hoover ran from him, records state.

Sheriff’s Officer Michael Maggi arrived as Hoover struggled with Gallegos, and Maggi began attempting to help Gallegos arrest Hoover.

Hoover was able to get back in the SUV and accelerated in reverse, dragging both officers for several feet until they fell off, records allege.

The SUV hit Maggi in the left leg, knocking him to the side of the vehicle, records state.

As Gallegos was dragged, one of his legs hit the concrete and the SUV’s tire ran over his right foot. He fell from the vehicle, striking his head on the concrete, records state.

A witness told police Hoover appeared to be lining up the SUV to run over the officers again when Maggi drew his gun but didn’t fire, records state.

Hoover fled the scene and was found behind a business at 93rd Avenue and U.S. 41 in St. John, where he was attempting to change a flat tire on the SUV.

Maggi suffered knee and leg injuries. Gallegos suffered injuries to his shoulder, knee and head. Both officers were placed on medical leave, according to court records.

A magistrate entered not guilty pleas on Hoover’s behalf Wednesday to 11 felony charges, including battery by means of a deadly weapon, resisting law enforcement and attempted residential entry.

His bail was set at $100,000 surety or $10,000 cash.

(c)2020 The Times (Munster, Ind.)