Chesterton Tribune

Man charged with DWI after woman dies in fall from motorcycle

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A Westville man has been charged with driving while intoxicated resulting in death after a woman who was riding on the back of his motorcycle died when he lost control early Sunday morning on Silhavy Road in Valparaiso.

Valparaiso resident Erin Shutz, 26, was declared dead at Porter Memorial Hospital, shortly after she hit a curb head first when Brian S. Ahern, 35, lost control of his motorcycle, according to the probable cause affidavit filed by a Valparaiso police officer.

On Monday Ahern was charged with operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration equivalent to .08 grams of alcohol in blood resulting in death, a Class C felony; with operating a vehicle while intoxicated resulting in death, also a Class C felony; and with two Class C misdemeanor charges of DWI. If convicted on all four counts, Ahern could be sentenced to more than 16 years in prison.

According to police, Ahern was driving his motorcycle at approximately 40 to 45 miles per hour on a stretch of Silhavy posted at 15 mph when Shutz shifted her weight, causing Ahern to hit the rear brake. Police said that Ahern then lost control, the bike slid on its side and into a curb, and Shutz fell off, hitting the curb head first. Shutz was not wearing a helmet, police said.

Ahern subsequently registered a blood alcohol content of .102 percent on a blood test administered at PMH, police said. Motorists in Indiana are considered legally intoxicated when they score a B.A.C. of .08 percent or higher.

Bond for Ahern has been set at $20,000.


Posted 10/7/2003