Incident DetailsCause of Death:
Corporal James Szuba and his canine partner, Ricky, were killed when their squad car was struck while assisting with a pursuit.
While proceeding northbound on Byrkit Avenue their squad car was sideswiped by a drunken driver being pursued by another officer. The suspect had swerved around a vehicle at the stoplight at McKinley Avenue when he hit the oncoming squad car of Corporal Szuba and K-9 Ricky, south of the intersection.
Corporal Szuba was transported to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center where he was dead on arrival.
The 31-year-old suspect, who had a blood-alcohol content nearly three times the legal limit, was on probation for an 18-month sentence for delivery and manufacturing of marijuana. He was later convicted and sentenced to 32½ years in prison for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing death, resisting law enforcement and possession of controlled substances. He was released in January 2022 and is currently on parole.
Corporal Szuba was survived by his wife, Debbie; son, Joshua; daughter, Stephanie; mother, Geraldine; two brothers, Floyd and John; and two sisters, Rosemary Lancaster and Kathy Atkins. His son currently serves as an officer with the St. Joseph County Sheriff's Department. One brother currently serves as a sergeant and their father was a retired officer with the South Bend Police Department.
• Corporal Szuba was the first of two Indiana line of duty deaths in 2010.