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 discharged in 2024.
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.