UPDATE: Suspect accused of battering police battled drug addiction in past
A chaotic scene in a South Bend neighborhood late Tuesday turned into a Metro Homicide investigation after the suspect and a police officer were hurt.
Sources tell WSBT it started when an officer spotted a pick up driving slowly down a residential street with its lights off around 10:30 Tuesday. When the officer tried to pull the truck over near Twyckenham and the 1500 block of Sunnymede, investigators say the driver - 55-year-old Tom Stevens - continued driving about half a block to his house on Sunnymede before hitting a police officer and resisting arrest.
Police arrested Stevens, then rushed him to the hospital for "serious injuries" investigators say he sustained during the arrest. A man who was seen leaving the Stevens' home Wednesday afternoon said Tom was in a medically induced coma.
"It doesn't look good," he added.
An officer was also hurt in the scuffle and treated at the hospital for his injuries.
Then, police arrested Stevens' 76-year-old mother, Suzanne Stevens, for alleged battery to a police officer and resisting arrest. A judge set her bond at $250 and family members indicated they intended to bail her out of the St. Joseph County jail Wednesday evening.
"We did hear a car coming quickly down the street," said Amy Hill, who lives across the street from Stevens.
It was enough commotion to get her and other neighbors out of bed.
"I looked out the window and this whole street was covered in cops and ambulances and all that kind of stuff," added Abby Waterhouse, who also lives nearby.
"We did eventually see them put somebody in handcuffs and take them away," Hill continued.
That man was Tom Stevens. Neighbors said he lived in the 2-story home with his mother. That home is where St. Joseph County Metro Homicide technicians focused their investigation Wednesday.
A press release from the St. Joseph County Prosecutor's office indicated Metro Homicide was investigating because of the fact that Stevens was seriously hurt during an arrest.
"It's a little scary when it hits this close to home," Hill said.
Records show Stevens has a troubled past. A 2011 South Bend Tribune commentary details his struggles with cocaine and heroin addictions. The 1976 Adams High School graduate and golf standout told the paper he had drug-related convictions in 2001 and 2006.
"I was curious about drugs," he said. "Nobody intends to be an addict. I tried it. I liked it. You don't realize how difficult it is to deal with an addiction."
Waterhouse knows she lives in a nice area.
"Very nice," she said. That's the worst part."
What happened there Tuesday night upset neighbors. They've already had a string of burglaries, prompting police to step up patrols in the area.
"Breaking into houses while people are there, breaking into houses, cars, like it's an every night kind of thing to the point where we don't feel safe anymore," Waterhouse said. "[I'm] nervous, scared, you know? I just want it to be over with. I want to be able to live here peacefully."
It was unclear Wednesday how the officer or Stevens were hurt. Metro Homicide Commander Tim Corbett said investigators have "a direction and a focus" in the case but were waiting to hear from doctors to confirm information.
Stevens was still in the hospital but in police custody Wednesday afternoon, Corbett said, but he hospital did not have him listed as a patient.
The Prosecutor's office indicated it expects to make charging decisions for both Tom and Suzanne Stevens within 48 hours of their arrests.