James John Szuba
Mishawaka Police Department
Saturday, January 9, 2010

Age: 42
Served: 7 years, 10 months
Badge #: 20172
Panel 23E, Line 27 (2011)
Panel L11, Line 12 (2010)

Incident Details

Cause of Death:
Vehicular assault
Date/Time of Incident:
Saturday, January 9, 2010
09:20 pm
Incident to Death Duration:
Same day
Incident Location:
Byrkit and McKinley avenues, Mishawaka
Incident County:
St. Joseph
Incident Township:
Weapon Used:
Motor vehicle
Suspect Disposition:
Discharged in 2024
Burial Place:
Saint Joseph Catholic Cemetery, Mishawaka

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   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.


Historical Notes

• Corporal Szuba was the first of two Indiana line of duty deaths in 2010.
• He is the fourth line of duty death of the Mishawaka Police Department.
• His line of duty death is the 21st that has originated from St. Joseph County.

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