A Portage resident found in possession of bath salts was arrested Friday on
charges of battery to law enforcement, resisting law enforcement, and
disorderly conduct after a struggle with officers on the Ind. 249 overpass,
Portage Police said.
According to police, at 4:32 a.m. an officer was dispatched to the area of
Ind. 249 and I-94 in response to a report of a male subject’s “stumbling in
traffic and trying to get in moving vehicles.” On his arrival, police said,
the officer observed a man, later identified as Christopher B. Mendoza, 40,
of 1937 Crisman Road, “running in circles and bouncing off vehicles trying
to exit onto I-94.” When the officer approached Mendoza, police said,
Mendoza began yelling “I need to pray, pray with me, pray with me.”
Mendoza ignored the officer’s instructions to place his hands behind his
back and instead tried to “run west into traffic,” at which point the
officer pushed Mendoza into the side of his squad car, police said. Mendoza
began struggling and as the officer “tried to control Mendoza,” the two of
them started “drifting east back towards the east barrier wall,” overlooking
I-94 below, police said.
A second officer arrived at the scene, noted the imminent peril, and “knew I
had to immediately stop Mr. Mendoza’s violent resisting to keep the struggle
from moving to the barrier wall,” that officer stated in his report. The
second officer struck Mendoza once in the face with a fist but “only a
second or two later (Mendoza) was fully combative again,” prompting the
officer to deploy his Taser and then cycle it several times to little
effect, police said.
Mendoza was finally brought under control and handcuffed after additional
officers arrived at the scene, police said.
Mendoza was medically cleared at Porter hospital, then transported to Porter
County Jail, where police said that he was found in possession of bath
salts. Mendoza himself denied using bath salts and advised that he was just
holding them for a friend, police said.