Fugitive leads cops on 2-state, high-speed pursuit

He was arrested after running to his mother’s house in Darke County.

A walkaway from an Indiana work release program is in jail after he triggered a high-speed police pursuit that started in Union City, Ohio, crossed into Indiana and ended in the Darke County village of Hollansburg.

Michael Penka, 34, was taken into custody from his mother’s house and booked into the Darke County Jail, Union City Police Chief David McHenry said Tuesday night.

McHenry said his department will present evidence to the county prosecutor’s office on Wednesday morning to file charges of failure to comply with the signal or order of a peace officer, driving under suspension and driving under OVI suspension. The time of arraignment for Penka is uncertain, the chief said.

There are pending charges against him in Randolph County, Ind.

A Union City, Ohio, police officer’s attempt to make a traffic stop Tuesday afternoon in the 100 block of East Main Street and South State Line Road was the starting line of the pursuit that reached speeds of 100 mph, McHenry said.

Penka and a woman believed to be his girlfriend were in the car, which belonged to a family member of hers, the chief said. She got out and Penka sped away.

The girlfriend was not injured and was not charged, McHenry said.

The vehicle proceeded south on State Line Road and into Randolph County, Ind., continued through parts of northern Wayne County, Ind., and back into southern Darke County before Penka got out and ran into his mother’s house in Hollansburg, approximately 25 miles south of Union City, Ohio, where the vehicle pursuit began.

Police surrounded the home before Penka surrendered.

Sheriff’s deputies from Darke and Wayne counties, police from Union City, Ohio, and police from the Indiana cities of Union City, Winchester, Lynn and Fountain City were part of the pursuit.

Police checked Penka’s background and discovered he has several felony convictions including fleeing from police in 2002 and 2011.

The background check also revealed that Penka was on work release in Randolph County, Ind., and should have been in jail at the time of Tuesday’s incident, McHenry said.