Chesterton Tribune


ISP: Celebrating driver facing OWI charge after accident on I80 in Lake County

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A Hammond resident who the Indiana State Police said was celebrating her birthday on Saturday has been charged with operating while intoxicated following an accident on I-180 in Lake County.

According to police, at 2:40 a.m. Natasha M. Garza, 34, was westbound in the middle right lane of I-80, at the 11.5 mile marker west of Central Ave., when she rear-ended a semi-tractor trailer.

The trucker, Juan G. Palafox, 53, of Romeoville, Ill., was not at first aware that Garza had struck his rig, and continued westbound for more than a mile with Garza’s 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt wedged partially beneath his box trailer, police said.

Garza was extricated from her car by Gary firefighters and treated for non-life threatening arm and ankle injuries at NorthLake Methodist Hospital in Gary, police said.

Garza is facing charges of operating while intoxicated and driving while suspended-prior and was cited for following too closely, police said.

Palafox was not injured but was issued a citation for a logbook violation and load securement, police said.

Palafox’s rig was owned by PAGG Trucking of Chicago and he was hauling 42,000 pounds of rice. There was no load loss.



Posted 10/29/2012