Families want answers, victims identified in deadly Indiana police pursuit that ended in crash

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Indiana — Two people are dead in Madison, Indiana after the driver of the vehicle they were riding in was trying to flee from police.

The Jefferson County coroner has identified 18-year-old Tyler Cooley of Hanover, Indiana and 19-year-old Brooklyn James of Madison, Indiana as the victims in this crash.

“There’s lots of broken hearts today. I just don’t understand it,” Cooley’s close family friend, Brandi Mundt said who helped raise Cooley. “He was truly a good kid and he had a huge heart.”

According to Indiana State Police, on January 9 around 3:45 p.m., a Madison Police Officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a 2005 Toyota in Madison, Indiana. The driver fled in the vehicle from the officer before crashing the vehicle west of Madison.

The initial investigation conducted by Indiana State Police-Versailles Detectives indicated that the Toyota being driven by 18-year-old Blake S. Coombs who also goes by Blake Eisenhower, fled from the officer northbound on State Road 7 from Madison. The Toyota turned westbound on State Road 250, southbound on State Road 3, and then eastbound on State Road 256 back towards Madison, Indiana.

Coombs lost control of the car on SR 256 at Thompson Road. The car left the roadway, striking two utility poles on the northeast corner of the intersection. 

Cooley was the front seat passenger and Brooklyn James was sitting in the back. They were both pronounced dead at the scene. 

Indiana Police pursuit 2

Indiana Police pursuit 2

ISP

Indiana police pursuit

Indiana police pursuit

ISP

“This doesn’t make sense I never thought I’d have to go through this,” Brooklyn James’s mother, Jackie James said. “She was very outgoing, and likeable.”

Brooklyn’s mother and father said those who witnessed the crash saw their daughter waving her hands out the window.

“If there’s victims in the car and you know they’re in the car have the sense to stop the chase,” Brooklyn’s father, Brian James said.

ISP received reports of things thrown out the car, but could not confirm what they were. Police said it is too early to tell if alcohol or drugs were involved. Madison Police Department initially tried to stop the behicle for traffic infractions.

“We just didn’t feel like it was right to have a celebration tonight when you just lost one of your family members,” superintendent of Southwestern Schools, Jeff Bates said, who canceled Friday’s Homecoming

The district brought eight counselors to school Friday. Coombs is a former student, and Cooley was going to graduate this year.

Cooley’s family said it is unclear what his relationship was to the other teenagers, but said Coombs was driving Cooley’s car. Police said Coombs did not have a license at the time of the crash.

Coombs was airlifted from the scene to the University of Louisville Hospital where he is still being treated for serious injuries.

This investigation is ongoing.

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