A Hammond man was killed on Saturday in a two-vehicle accident on I-80/94 in
Lake County after the Indiana State Police said that, during an argument
with the driver of the vehicle he was riding in, he grabbed the steering
The victim was identified as Joshua Walberg, 21.
According to police, at 8:40 p.m. Shawnna Popenhagen, 21, of Hammond, was
eastbound on I-80/94, at the 2.9 mile marker east of Indianapolis Blvd., and
arguing with her passenger, Walberg. Police said that, at some point,
Walberg grabbed the steering wheel, prompting Popenhagen to over-correct her
1996 Toyota Tercel to the left, spinning the Toyota around into the right
center lane and almost perpendicular to an oncoming charter bus. The bus
then struck the driver’s front of the Toyota head on, police said.
WalbergÑwho was not wearing a seatbelt, police saidÑwas pronounced dead at
the scene of blunt force trauma. PopenhagenÑwho was wearing a seatbelt,
police saidÑwas transported to Advocate Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill.,
with incapacitating injuries.
None of the 39 persons on the charter bus was injured, police said. The bus,
owned by Excursions Inc. of Fort Wayne, was carrying the coaches, football
players, and cheerleaders of the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne,
returning from a game in Joliet, Ill. The bus was driven by William Johnson,
64, of Upland, Ind.
Another charter bus was dispatched to the scene to pick up its passengers
and take them back to Fort Wayne.
“Seat belts are one of the most effective safety devices for preventing
death and injury,” the Indiana State Police said. “There is a reason for
wearing them. They save lives.”