Ohio man sentenced after stealing hotel worker’s minivan, hitting him with vehicle

An Ohio man was sentenced Feb. 13 to one year in prison and two years probation after admitting he stole a hotel worker’s minivan, then hit him with it as he tried to escape, court records show.

Roland Chambers pleaded guilty Dec. 5 to battery by means of a deadly weapon, a Level 5 felony.

Merrillville Police responded around 7:27 p.m. Sept. 21 to the Economy Inn, 8275 Louisiana St. for a reported auto theft.

The victim told police he “accidentally” left his keys inside his blue 2003 Honda minivan to go talk to a coworker. A woman told him a white man with curly hair stole the vehicle.

The co-worker gave him a ride and they found it empty on the south side of a nearby Motel 6. Suddenly, the other man, Chambers, ran up to the van.

The victim said it was his. Chambers told him he “needed it.” Chambers jumped into the driver’s seat. The driver’s door was open when he backed up.

The door hit the victim and knocked him to the ground and ran over his arm with the driver’s side tire, before taking off. The victim later told police he was “trying to make it through” and didn’t want to go to the hospital, because he didn’t have health insurance. The victim showed officers injuries like his bleeding fingers and road rash on his right abdomen.

A Merrillville patrolman spotted the van near 91st Avenue and Mississippi Street. Chambers turned on 101st Avenue and stopped to ditch the van on 4400 block of E. 101st Ave.

He ran out, got stuck in thick brush and was arrested at gunpoint. At the jail, he “fell down” when the officer tried to put him in a cell, admitting he was going through heroin withdrawal.

mcolias@post-trib.com