A Round Lake man out on bond in two drug trafficking cases died Monday after he fled from police in Indiana and crashed — while he had large duffle bags of marijuana in his car.
Indiana State Police District 13 Sgt. Glen Fifield said the fatal crash happened around 1:45 p.m. Monday on westbound Interstate 80/94 at the 12.8-mile marker near Lake Station, Indiana.
The crash happened minutes after a trooper had performed a traffic stop on a gray 2012 Kia Optima just east of the Lake Station exit ramp.
The Kia fled the scene of the traffic stop as the trooper was walking up to speak with the driver, Fifield said.
The trooper returned to his police squad and was going to initiate a pursuit.
Fifield said the trooper immediately turned off his lights and pulled back over to the side of the interstate.
The trooper chose not to chase the vehicle due to the high traffic volume, Fifield said.
The Indiana State Police Regional Dispatch Center Lowell Post received 911 calls approximately four minutes later of a serious crash on Interstate 80/94 at the 12.8-mile marker.
The 911 callers reported a gray Kia Optima had rear-ended a semi while traveling at a high rate of speed, Fifield said.
The driver of the Kia, Bryan I. Flores, 20, of Round Lake, was partially ejected from the vehicle.
Flores had sustained life-threatening injuries. First responders and troopers arrived at the scene and rendered first aid to the man.
Fifield said a medical transport helicopter was called to transport Flores to a trauma hospital in Illinois.
Troopers discovered two large duffle bags that contained marijuana in the trunk of the Kia.
Investigators confirmed the Kia that crashed was the same Kia that the trooper had initially pulled over near the Lake Station exit, Fifield said.
Flores died while being treated at the hospital. The driver of the semi-truck was uninjured.
The interstate lanes were closed for an extended period for crash investigation and vehicle removal.
Flores was out on bond at the time of the incident for two drug cases. He was scheduled to appear next week in Lake County Circuit Court for one of the pending cases.
In April, Flores was charged with possession with intent to deliver over 2,000 grams of cannabis, possession of over 2,000 grams of cannabis, fleeing or attempting to elude an officer and muffler violation.
Prosecutors at the time said officers were on patrol when they noticed a vehicle with a loud muffler.
Round Lake Park police officers attempted to stop the vehicle, driven by Flores, but it fled from them.
Officers later arrested Flores at his residence after finding nine bags of cannabis, weighing 5.5 pounds in total, in the vehicle that fled from officers, prosecutors said.
Flores was also charged in December with possession with intent to deliver over 2,000 grams of cannabis, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of over 2,000 grams of cannabis, possession of a controlled substance, leaving the scene of an accident, unlawful use of cannabis by a driver, reckless driving, improper traffic lane usage and operating an uninsured motor vehicle.
During that incident, Flores was accused of causing a rollover crash in Round Lake Beach and fleeing the scene.
Officers found over $17,600 in cash on Flores’ person when they arrested him in that incident, prosecutors said.
Officers also found over 200 grams of cannabis in multiple baggies and $203 in cash on the ground that fell out when his car rolled over.
The Jeep was towed to the police department to be searched and officers found more drugs and cash inside it, prosecutors said.
1,084 grams of cannabis bud, 62 grams of THC carts, 2,174 grams of THC wax, 82 grams of psilocybin, a scale and other packaging materials were located.
There was also additional money in the car, which added up to $19,906 in total seized from Flores and his car.