Police: Wheeling man accused in SUV death arrested in Indiana

  • An SUV plunged into this house on the 700 block of Equestrian Drive in Wheeling May 20 after the driver intentionally struck and killed a pedestrian, according to police.

    An SUV plunged into this house on the 700 block of Equestrian Drive in Wheeling May 20 after the driver intentionally struck and killed a pedestrian, according to police. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Jose Fermin Zavala-Hernandez

    Jose Fermin Zavala-Hernandez

 
 
Updated 6/19/2020 9:02 PM

A Wheeling man suspected of fatally striking a former friend with an SUV last month has been arrested after a police chase in northern Indiana, authorities announced Friday morning.

Jose Fermin Zavala-Hernandez, 38, of the 400 block of Pleasant Run Drive, had been sought by police since the May 20 death of 32-year-old Carlos Maciel Pulido, also of Wheeling. No charges relating to Pulido's death have been filed, however.

 

Police have said Zavala-Hernandez was behind the wheel of a Toyota SUV that struck Pulido on the 700 block of Equestrian Drive in Wheeling and then crashed through the front of a house, carrying Pulido's body with it. Witnesses told police the driver fled after the crash. No one inside the house was hurt.

Zavala-Hernandez had been friends with Pulido, but they had a disagreement stemming from a violent May 17 domestic confrontation, Deputy Police Chief Joseph Licari said. Zavala-Hernandez attacked a woman, cut off a Cook County-issued ankle monitor and fled, police said.

Zavala-Hernandez was wearing the ankle monitor after an arrest earlier in May on multiple charges after a crash in Arlington Heights.

An arrest warrant on a domestic battery charge stemming from the May 17 Wheeling case was issued for Zavala-Hernandez.

Zavala-Hernandez was arrested Wednesday in LaPorte County, Indiana, after a reported road rage incident and police chase there that ended when tire-deflation devices disabled the vehicle, Wheeling police said in a news release.

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Zavala-Hernandez was driving a vehicle reported stolen in Indiana when he was apprehended, police said.

He gave police there a fake name, but they later determined his true identity, according to the news release.

Wheeling police detectives have gone to Indiana to interview Zavala-Hernandez. He remains in custody there as the investigation continues.

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