Initial Findings Indicate LaCrosse Grain Elevator Explosion was Accidential

Boom 28A Thursday morning grain elevator explosion in LaCrosse that badly burned four Co-Alliance employees appears to have been the result of an industrial accident, according to officials with the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, OSHA and Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office are continuing the investigation, which could take a couple of days to conclude. Continue reading

LaCrosse Grain Elevator Explosion Critically Injures Four Employees

Boom 28A grain elevator explosion in LaCrosse this morning critically injures four employees. Jonah Pacione, 19, and Emilio Galicia, 43, were airlifted to St. Joseph Burn Center in Fort Wayne. Craig Chase, 34, and Chris Fort, 26, are patients at Porter Memorial Hospital in Valparaiso. All four sustained burns, but none of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening. Co-Alliance CEO Kevin A. Still says company personnel will be on-site at the hospitals to provide support and assistance to the employees and their families. Continue reading

La Crosse Grain Elevator Explosion Injures Four

Boom 28

The explosion at the Co-Alliance grain elevator in LaCrosse critically injured four employees, two of whom were airlifted to Fort Wayne. The others were taken to Porter Memorial Hospital in Valparaiso.

It didn’t take long for emergency responders to arrive to the scene of an explosion on Thursday morning in La Crosse.

The 911 Center in La Porte County received a call of an explosion just before 9:00 a.m. An Indiana State Trooper was in the area and heard the explosion before arriving on scene.

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LaPorte Police Ask Residents to Report Littering

072LaPorte County police are investigating an ongoing littering issue in Galena and Springfield Townships.

On Wednesday, workers in the Community Work Program picked up trash alongside County Road 125 E., County Road 800 N., County Road 900 N., Fail Road and County Road 1000 N. A truck bed quickly filled up with extra large trash bags full of garbage.

The Community Work Program involves low-risk inmates that perform various work projects around the county.

Some of the trash found poses a health hazard to the community.

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LaPorte Pursuit Ends in Michigan With Rollover Wreck, Arrest

A high-speed pursuit that started in LaPorte County just after 9 last night ended near New Buffalo, Mich. when the suspect rolled his SUV. A LaPorte City Police Officer tried to stop a Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by a suspected traffic violator on the downtown overpass. A LaPorte County Sheriff’s Deputy joined the pursuit as the motorist fled north on Pine Lake Avenue and eventually north onto State Road 39 past the city limits. Continue reading

LaPorte Police Investigate Criminal Mischief in Kingsbury Industrial Park

Detectives with the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department are investigating an incident of criminal mischief that occurred at the Kingsbury Industrial Park.

Police say that a fire hydrant was opened sometime between 11:30 p.m. and midnight on Friday, March 20 and water ran out of the hydrant for several hours. Officials from the Kingsbury Utility Corporation estimate that more than 300,000 gallons of water flooded the area around the Bye-Mo’r business on Fourth Line Road. The business did not suffer any damage. Deliveries could not be made to or from the business due to a flooded loading dock, according to the news release.

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LaPorte Police Investigate Crashes

LaPorte crashesAn early Spring snow caused several accidents in LaPorte County, including one involving a school bus.

A bus carrying 33 students was traveling north on County Road 600 West and stopped to turn into the South Central School Corporation campus driveway. A passenger vehicle could not stop in time and rear-ended the school bus. There were no injuries reported and the bus sustained very little damage. LaPorte County police believe that slick road conditions played a part in the accident.

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Wisconsin Man Fires Gun in Illinois Store, Captured in Indiana after Pursuit

A Wisconsin man was taken into custody in LaPorte County from an incident stemming in Illinois Friday night.

Vincent J. Toliver, 34, reportedly fired shots inside a Walgreen’s store in Broadview, Illinois. Indiana State Police troopers continued a pursuit of his vehicle on I-294 and I-80 into Indiana. Stop sticks were deployed several times across I-80 onto I-94, but Toliver was able to avoid hitting them. LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department deputies attempted to deploy stop sticks, but Toliver was able to escape them as well. Troopers slowed eastbound traffic, and Toliver’s SUV slowed to a stop near the Michigan City exit. Toliver then began traveling slowly eastbound and turned around going west in the eastbound lanes on I-94 before coming to a stop.

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Bullet Found Inside South Central High School Locker Room

A .22 caliber bullet was found in the girls PE locker room at South Central High School, which caused a lockdown of the school at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday.

The bullet was placed into the custody of a staff member, and the school’s resource officer was notified. A search ensued. Members of the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department responded to the school and served as security as staff members looked through every student locker. The PE lockers were also thoroughly searched. Nothing of a suspicious nature was located. The lockdown was lifted after two hours.

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LaPorte Criminal Justice Students Eligible for Scholarship

A scholarship will be offered to a LaPorte County student planning to study criminal justice. The scholarship is in honor of the memory of Patrolman Neil Thompson. Thompson is the only LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department officer killed in the line of duty.

A fund was established, and a scholarship created to honor fallen policeman. The $1,000 scholarship had been awarded to family members of the sheriff’s department, but Sheriff John Boyd is opening up the opportunity to students outside the department.

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Two Arrested in Burglary Investigation

A pair of suspects was arrested Wednesday in connection with a burglary investigation.

The initial investigation began as an unauthorized control of a vehicle. Police officers had been looking for a vehicle that was stolen by Stephanie Pahl, 28. She had allegedly taken the car from her mother. Pahl was wanted on a warrant for possession of a controlled substance.

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Officer Injured in Altercation during Traffic Stop

Two Munster residents were arrested late Tuesday night after the driver of the vehicle got into a physical confrontation with the arresting officer.

According to a release from the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department, a car driven by Travis Dade, 23, was traveling at 80 mph in a 55 mph zone. Sgt. Brett Swanson stopped the vehicle at Range Road and U.S. 6 near the town of Kingsbury. Sgt. Swanson asked Dade to step out of the vehicle after the officer smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle.

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LaPorte County Man Found Trapped under Tractor

A LaPorte County man was found dead after his ex-wife discovered him trapped under a farm tractor in the backyard of his home on Tuesday afternoon.

LaPorte County Sheriff’s deputies were called to a residence in the 16000 South block of State Road 39, approximately three miles south and east of Hanna. The ex-wife of the victim had gone to check on the 78-year-old man’s well-being and found him on the property.

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LaPorte County Man Found Dead in Apartment

The LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department and the coroner are investigating the death of a 57-year-old Michigan City man. The man, whose name has not been released by authorities, was found dead inside his apartment Monday morning. Police were let into the apartment by the manager of the Woodland Crossing Apartment Complex after neighbors had called to report inactivity.

Investigators from the sheriff’s detective bureau were called to assist at the scene, according to a sheriff’s department news release. Investigators do not have any information that foul play was involved based on evidence at the scene. However, police say they are waiting for more information from the coroner before making a final determination.

Relatives of the decedent have been notified.

Brothers Charged with Armed Robbery

Kevin Pons

Kevin Pons

Giancarlo Pons

Giancarlo Pons

Two people were arrested in an armed robbery incident in LaPorte this week.

The pair, Giancarlo Pons, 21, and Kevin Pons, 20, of LaPorte, entered the Kentucky Fried Chicken on Pine Lake Avenue, went into the office area and allegedly stole a large amount of money while pointing a handgun at employees. The brothers fled the store on foot.

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Michigan City Man Dies after He Darts in Front of Car

A Michigan City man was pronounced dead at the scene of a car/pedestrian accident in the 9800 North block of U.S. Highway 12 early this morning.

According to an investigation by the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department, Richard Schmuhl, 83, was attempting to cross the street when he suddenly darted out in front of an oncoming passenger car. Schmuhl was struck by the driver’s side of the car. Officers found him in the highway and he was pronounced dead by an official with the LaPorte County Coroner’s Office.

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Law Enforcement Agencies Begin Operation Pull Over Blitz

Law enforcement agencies across Indiana are taking part in an Operation Pull Over blitz through the end of the month. Patrol officers will be looking for drunk drivers and seatbelt violators.

Last November 490 alcohol-related crashes occurred in Indiana, resulting in 224 injuries and 13 fatalities. A total of 735 drivers were arrested statewide for driving under the influence, and 9.504 seatbelt citations were issued to drivers and passengers who were not buckled up. Continue reading

LaPorte Sheriff to Host Halloween Event

Halloween-trick-or-treatThe sixth annual Trick-or-Treat and Halloween Safety event is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 31, hosted by LaPorte County Sheriff Michael Mollenhauer.

The event promotes safety for children while trick-or-treating in the community. Children attending the event will receive a reflective trick-or-treat bag with an activity book and crayons. A reflector badge will also be supplied. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served.

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LaPorte Police Participating Special Enforcement This Week

LaPorte County police will be stepping up patrols this week for a traffic safety project called “Operation Stop Arm”.

Sheriff’s deputies have partnered with Michigan City officers and Indiana State Police Troopers to make drivers more aware of school bus loading and unloading during this National School Bus Safety Week.

Driver who disregard stopped buses with stop arms extended and flashing lights can be cited on a Class A infraction of arm signal device: duty to obey. That carries a fine of up to $10,000. A driver can be arrested for a Class B misdemeanor offense of reckless driving if the driver recklessly passes a school bus while loading or unloading students. That offense carries up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

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