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.