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  • Faiers

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 1:00 am

Drinking, truck theft led to chase

Suspect has traffic offenses in past

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

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David Tinsley is at least the ninth active-duty police officer with the Fort Wayne or Allen County Sheriff's departments to die in the line of duty or while serving in the military. The others:

Joseph Cox, ACSD, died after suffering medical emergency while on duty in 2017

Bradley Matteson, FWPD, killed when a semi ran a red light and crashed into his cruiser in 2000

Daniel Edenfield, ACSD, died after collapsing following a foot pursuit in 1998

Eryk Heck, ACSD, killed in a shootout with a burglar in 1997

Omega Graham, FWPD, died when he was shot in the chest during police training in 1987

Kenneth Stiverson, FWPD, shot in the chest during a gun battle on the city's east side in 1969

Edward Schafenacker, FWPD, killed in action in the Korean War in 1950

Mathew Gebhardt, FWPD, killed in the line of duty in 1926

A witness told investigators that Patrick Anthony Faiers had drunk a fifth of peppermint schnapps before stealing a pickup from a nearby construction business and leading police on a high-speed chase late Monday.

The chase ended with the 49-year-old in handcuffs in a wooded area on the city's south side and Fort Wayne police mourning the loss of one of their own.

Officer David Tinsley, 50, collapsed on the way back to his car after Faiers was captured. He was pronounced dead at the hospital after officers tried to revive him at the scene.

“We are so blessed to have served with him,” Police Chief Steve Reed said.

Court documents filed Tuesday in Allen Superior Court detail the series of events that led to Tinsley's death and the arrest of Faiers, whose criminal record includes several arrests for vehicle- and traffic-related offenses and stretches back more than 30 years.

He is charged with five felonies in connection with Tuesday night's events, including burglary, operating a vehicle after forfeiture of license, resisting arrest and auto theft. He also is charged with misdemeanor counts of criminal mischief and criminal trespass.

Faiers, of the 5400 block of Old Maumee Road, is scheduled to appear Friday in court, where formal charges are expected to be filed.

New Haven police Officer Landon Sell was called at 9:48 p.m. Monday to investigate a stolen vehicle and a crash from which the vehicle was driven away. A man told Sell that Faiers sped down Old Maumee Road and through the trailer park where he lived in a green Chevy Silverado, according to a probable cause affidavit.

The statement matched comments from another witness, investigators said.

Faiers's wife, who is not named in court documents, told Sell her husband “just drank a fifth of Rumple Minze schnapps and started acting crazy.”

“Patrick's wife stated he usually doesn't act like this but the alcohol is getting to him,” Sell wrote in his report.

Don R. Fruchey Inc. is less than a half mile from where Faiers lives, and police found a gate at the business bent and “one of the support pipes” broken in half. Sell wrote that it appeared a vehicle rammed the gate.

An employee at the business told police the missing pickup had been parked there with the keys inside.

“I later learned of a traffic accident where a vehicle matching that description with Fruchey on the side crashed and again left the scene,” Sell wrote in his report.

A Fort Wayne police officer was on the scene of a domestic dispute about 11:15 p.m. when a green pickup arrived at East Cox Drive and South Calhoun Street.

“The pickup truck began to spin the back tires in the fashion of a burn out causing a large plume of smoke and then continued east on East Cox Drive,” a separate affidavit alleged. The officer used a flashlight to get the truck to stop, and it did – briefly – according to police.

“At that time, the (officer) was able to see the color of the pickup truck and observed that it was a green pickup truck with a ladder rack and a construction company name on the side,” the affidavit states.

The officer moved toward the driver's side of the truck, and it took off onto Southcrest Road, police said. Officers including Tinsley gave chase, following it onto Kent Road, then to Dunbar Lane, back to South Calhoun and onto Tillman Road.

Faiers traveled onto Fairfield Avenue and into the Candlelite Apartments complex, where he got stuck in a grassy area before driving over a curb, down a hill and onto the Rivergreenway, police said. He was arrested after crashing the truck and fleeing on foot, according to investigators.

It is not clear whether Faiers could be charged in connection with Tinsley's death. Asked about that, Reed referred questions to Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards.

Richards said the case is “actively under investigation” and her office is weighing which charges, “if any,” might be filed.

Faiers pleaded guilty in 2001 to a felony charge of operating a vehicle after having been given a lifetime suspension and was ordered to spend two years in prison, court records show. A separate case in which he was charged the same year with being a habitual traffic violator and drug possession drew an 18-month sentence.

He was charged in October 1987 with driving the wrong way on a one-way street, a misdemeanor. Most recently, he was charged in Steuben Superior Court with drunk driving. Faiers was ordered to spend 30 days in jail in that case.

mleblanc@jg.net