Chesterton Tribune

Suspect in Portage stabbing death dies with his infant son in U.S. 20 crash here

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A man suspected in a homicide in Portage early this morning drove his car into a police squad at high speed on U.S. Highway 20 in Porter, killing himself and his 2-year-old son, whom he was holding in his lap at the time, the Indiana State Police said.

Porter County Coroner Vicki Deppe identified the driver as Lawrence K. Hill, 40, with a last known address in Chicago; the child as Keahn Hill; and the homicide victim as Dennis R. Williams, 29, of Gary.

The series of events began at 12:49 a.m. today, Portage Police said, when officers were dispatched to a residence in the 5900 block of Old Porter Road in response to a report of a disturbance between a male and female. On their arrival, Portage Police said, officers found Williams lying dead on the third-floor landing with multiple stab wounds. A 21-year-old woman at the scene advised officers that Williams was a friend.

The woman gave this account, Portage Police said. Earlier in the evening, while she and Williams were in her apartment, the door buzzer rang from the outside. She went to investigate, at which point her ex-boyfriend barged through the sliding glass patio doors. She and her ex-boyfriend began to argue heatedly about their 2-year-old son—asleep in the apartment—and in the course of the argument he held a knife to her throat and tried to escort her outside. Williams intervened and was then stabbed to death, and as she was running outside to call for help the woman observed her ex-boyfriend leave in his 1993 Buick Regal. She subsequently discovered that her son was missing.

Portage Police immediately alerted local law enforcement agencies of the homicide and the apparent kidnapping and broadcast a description of the ex-boyfriend’s Buick. At approximately 1:29 a.m. a Beverly Shores police officer spotted the suspect vehicle eastbound on U.S. Highway 12 in the area of Ind. 520, the ISP said, and followed it as it turned around to go westbound on U.S. 20 from The Pines. Officers from the Chesterton, Porter, Burns Harbor, Portage and Porter County Sheriff’s departments eventually fell into line behind the BSPD officer.

The driver of the Buick, subsequently identified as Hill, was not driving at high speed, the ISP said, and “none of the police cars had their emergency lights nor sirens activated.”

Meanwhile, west of the caravan, an ISP trooper parked off the highway at Mineral Springs Road and deployed stop sticks in the middle of westbound U.S. 20, the ISP said, while a PCSP officer activated the emergency lights on his fully marked 2005 Ford Crown Victoria squad and then parked it facing eastbound in the westbound lanes of U.S. 20 just east of Beam Street.

Hill ran over the stop sticks deployed by the ISP trooper, the ISP said, but continued westbound on U.S. 20, and was observed by the PCSP officer to accelerate and “intentionally” aim his Buick at the Crown Victoria.

The PCSP officer was able to run into a wooded area and escape injury just before Hill struck the Crown Victoria head on, the ISP said.

Hill was pronounced dead at the scene and had to be extricated from the Buick by Porter firefighters, Porter Fire Chief Lewis Craig told the Chesterton Tribune today.

The 2-year-old Keahn, whom Hill was holding on his lap, was thrown from the Buick and landed on the pavement.

Craig said that he was able to detect a weak heartbeat and arrangements were being made to airlift Keahn to a trauma center, with Shelton Fireworks as the staging area, when the decision was made to transport the child to Porter Portage Hospital Campus, where he later died.

Craig called the accident one of the worst he’s ever seen.

Deppe said that autopsies were being conducted on all three victims.

Portage Police said that their investigation is continuing.


Posted 10/21/2008