GreeneStreets. Feature photo of a back country road in Greene County, Indiana. Courtesy of Nick Schneider.

In 2nd of 3 pending cases, Bloomfield man ‘pleads the 5th’ during traffic stop before driving through a creek to flee

Craig Daniel Blake

Craig Daniel Blake

A Bloomfield man, stopped by a state trooper for a turn signal violation near Owensburg in March, refused to identify himself. Then he said, “I plead the fifth,” before slamming the truck into gear and taking off. The officer pursued down a gravel road then a driveway then through a yard to the edge of a ditch. The truck hesitated but entered the ditch and crossed a small creek - where the patrol car could not go. A warrant was issued for the driver, later identified as Craig Daniel Blake. He was apprehended last weekend and now has three criminal cases pending against him. This story is about the second case.

Indiana State Police Trooper Caleb Garvin was on duty traveling behind an orange 1946 Chevrolet pickup truck on State Road 58 east of State Road 45 near Owensburg on March 16. Around 7:30 p.m., when the truck activated its left turn signal but turned right instead, the officer hit the lights to make a traffic stop.

When the driver was asked for his driver’s license and registration, Garvin reported the man, accompanied by two canine passengers, said he wasn’t going to give the officer anything and twice told him he was going to “plead the fifth.” Garvin said he told the man if he did not identify himself, he could be arrested for failure to identify. He said the man then yelled that he was not going to go to jail as he slammed the truck into gear and took off.

With lights and siren, the trooper pursued the truck down a country road then a driveway, reporting speeds between 40 and 50 mph on gravel. At one point, according to the officer, the truck came close to hitting a UTV on the roadway.

Then the truck drove through a residential yard to the edge of a ditch. Garvin said he thought the man was going to exit the truck and run on foot but instead, the truck hit the ditch and crossed a small creek. The trooper knew his patrol car could not make it and as the truck continued on through fields, he ran to the top of a hill to see where it was going.

The truck was actually registered to a Worthington man – not the driver. The officer was able to determine the identity of the driver because other officers were familiar with the orange truck and advised of multiple dealings with the truck and Blake.

A records check on Craig Daniel Blake, age 51, from Bloomfield, showed he had a previous conviction for driving while suspended and his license was currently suspended.

Officers from several departments were looking for Blake and the orange truck that evening and in the days following the traffic stop, but were unable to locate him.

When Blake’s two dogs were spotted near a barn with a camper parked nearby, officers made a few stops at the barn and camper to check for Blake, with no luck. But the dogs remained there, seemingly unattended. Greene County Sheriff’s Deputy Terry Wade, the animal bite and neglect investigator for the sheriff’s department, was called in to check on the abandoned dogs.

Following the traffic stop on March 16 and subsequent searches, Trooper Garvin submitted information to the Greene County Prosecutor and on March 19, the second criminal case filed against Blake in Greene Superior Court included preliminary charges:

  • Resisting law enforcement using a vehicle, a Level 6 felony,
  • Criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon, a Level 6 felony,
  • Reckless driving at an unreasonable high speed that endangered safety, a Class C misdemeanor,
  • Driving while suspended – a knowing violation with a prior conviction for driving while suspended, a Class A misdemeanor,
  • Refusal to identify self, a Class C misdemeanor, and
  • Cruelty to an animal, a Class A misdemeanor.

A warrant was issued for his arrest in this case, and in the first case involving leaving the scene of an accident that was pending against him, another arrest warrant was issued on a petition to revoke his bond.

Blake was apprehended last weekend in another incident that resulted in a third case being filed against him – that will be covered in another upcoming story.

Click to read other stories involving Blake.