A police chase that began in Norwalk early this morning ended in Des Moines as the man being chased jumped to his death from a parking ramp. Norwalk Police Chief Eddie Kuhl says it began with a call of a person who was possibly suicidal who was walking on a lake near town. He says officers found an area of the lake where it appeared someone had walked out onto the ice and there was a hole.
Kuhl says they then received a call that the person had returned to a residence and driven away in a vehicle. Kuhl says the man was identified as 39-year-old Roger Hockel of Osceola and he’d been staying with a relative in Norwalk. Kuhl says officers tried to pull Hockel over to see if they could help him. Kuhl says it was more of an attempt to stop as opposed to a pursuit, as he says speeds never got over 45-miles-an-hour. Kuhl says Windsor Heights police put out stop sticks that punctured a tire of the vehicle, but it continued moving into Des Moines.
Des Moines police spokesman Todd Dykstra says officers from his department then joined in the pursuit of Hockel. Dykstra says the chase continued into downtown Des Moines to a downtown parking ramp, where Hockel drove into the ramp. He says Hockel drove to the top of the ramp and immediately got out of his vehicle and jumped to his death.
Dykstra says the ramp is eight stories high. Dykstra says it was unfortunate that police couldn’t get to Hockel to help him. He says, “At no time do any officers want to see something like this. We know that the officers that were up at the top of the ramp, that observed this, they absolutely had no time to do any type of intervention. It just happened so suddenly that the officers had not time to communicate with him at all.” Kuhl says Hockel’s relative said Hockel had threatened before to commit suicide.