South Bend man gets prison time for fleeing police

Published 3:49 pm Tuesday, September 26, 2023

NILES — A South Bend man was sentenced to prison Monday in Berrien county Trial Court for leading police on a chase in Niles and Indiana two years ago.

Chad Allen Stauffer, 38, of South Bend, pleaded guilty to third degree fleeing police and was sentenced to 18 months to five years in prison. He has no credit for time served and must pay $198 in fines and costs.

The incident occurred Oct. 19, 2021 when Stauffer fled police in Niles and continued to flee into Indiana. His sentence is concurrent with the sentence he received in Cass County earlier this month for possession of burglar tools.

Berrien County Trial Judge Jennifer Smith said Stauffer’s sentence could also run concurrent with his Indiana prison sentence depending on what Indiana courts rule. Stauffer is currently in prison in Indiana for resisting police and handgun violations.

Judge Smith said the prison sentence she imposed Monday can be served in any penal institution.

Assistant Prosecutor Kate Arnold noted that Stauffer reached speeds of 60 to 70 miles per hour in a residential area during the Michigan part of the police chase and got up to 100 miles per hour on the Indiana side of the state line. “He was on probation at the time, this was a very dangerous situation,” she said.

Defense attorney Shayne Williams noted that Stauffer has been incarcerated the last two years in Indiana and came back to Michigan to take care of the charges here. For his part, Stauffer said he is trying to get his life back together and is getting counseling.

“You were using meth at the time of this incident, I hope you’re getting help,” Judge Smith said. “In this incident, you endangered others in the community when you were fleeing police at a high rate of speed … Your criminal record is terrible. You are looking at prison any time you come back in the future.”