Miami County, IN – A traffic stop conducted on Christmas Day resulted in a South Bend woman’s arrest on charges of Synthetic Identity deception, Operator Never Licensed, False Informing, Invasion of Privacy and a St. Joseph County Warrant.
The traffic stop took place at approximately 7:16 p.m. on December 25th when ISP Trooper Jonathan Cole observed a 2003 Tan Mercury Sable traveling at approximately 71 miles per hour in a 60 mile per hour zone.
After pacing the vehicle for a period of time, he also observed a small child to be standing in the back seat facing the rear of the vehicle.
The traffic stop was conducted on US Route 31 just south of County Road 800 South in Miami County.
Upon stopping the vehicle, the woman identified herself as Shavola R. Jones and stated that her nearly two-year-old daughter kept unbuckling her car seat. She also stated she was in a hurry because hospice had called, and her mother only had 30 minutes to live in Indianapolis. Trooper Cole advised Ms. Jones to buckle her child back into her seat and he would quickly check her information.
Trooper Cole was unable to locate any record of Shavola R. Jones and the vehicle’s plate returned to a different vehicle as well. Trooper Cole returned to speak to Ms. Jones who stated she had bought the car recently in Illinois and the temporary plate was to another vehicle that she used to own. She also advised that her license might be out of Illinois she gave him a different date of birth claiming he misheard her the first time.
Trooper Cole returned and attempted to locate her information again without success. Upon returning to the vehicle for the third time, Ms. Jones was on the phone with a person who identified herself as Jones’ grandmother who wanted to know where the traffic stop was located so she could come to pick up her granddaughter.
Due to Ms. Jones not being able to provide Trooper Cole with any valid information, registration or identification and not knowing her social security number he advised her that for their safety they would be moving from the busy roadway to the gas station at US Route 31 and County Road 850 S. He then followed her to the gas station.
Once at the gas station, he continued to attempt to identify her. She continued on approximately eight separate occasions to stick with the “Shavola Renee Jones” identity but could not provide any siblings or other people Officers could call to verify her name and date of birth.
At approximately 8:14 p.m. the subject that Trooper Cole had spoken with before on the phone asked if he could call her on his phone without Ms. Jones knowing. When he called her, Trooper Cole was advised that Ms. Jones’ real identity was Whitney T. Jones.
Upon running the name Whitney T. Jones via ISP Dispatch, Trooper Cole learned that she has never received a driver’s license and that she was wanted on a St. Joseph County Warrant for Theft and False Informing. It was also learned that Ms. Jones was the subject of a protective order which she violated by making telephone contact with the subject of the order.
Whitney T. Jones, 24 of South Bend, IN was then placed under arrest and transported to the Miami County Jail on charges of Operator Never Licensed, Synthetic Identity Deception, False Informing and Invasion of Privacy as well as the St. Joseph County Warrant. In addition to the criminal charges, she was cited for speeding 71/60, false plates, and child restraint violation. Her vehicle was towed from the scene.
The child was transported to the Peru Post and was later picked up by a family member.
All criminal suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.