Chesterton Tribune

Man charged with OWI causing death accused of violating terms of his bond

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A Union Township motorist accused of striking and killing a jogger while driving with marijuana in his system could be returned to jail pending trial, after the Porter County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said that he was found to have synthetic marijuana in his system while out on bond.

Joseph R. Ruwaldt, 20, of 3222W 100N, is scheduled to appear at a bond hearing on Friday, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Andrew Bennett told the Chesterton Tribune.

Ruwaldt recently “tested positive for synthetic marijuana,” Bennett said, in violation of the terms of his bond.

Ruwaldt is charged with operating while intoxicated-causing death, operating with a controlled substance or its metabolite in his system, and reckless homicide, in connection with the death last summer of Garry Bradley.

All charges are Class C felonies punishable by a term of two to eight years.

According to the Porter County Sheriff’s Police, at 7:38 a.m. July 31, Ruwaldt was eastbound on C.R. 100N when he left the roadway in the area of C.R. 350W and struck Bradley, who was running eastbound on the north edge of the roadway.

Bradley “was thrown up onto the hood” of Ruwaldt’s truck, “carried for a distance and then fell to the ground,” police said. He was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Ruwaldt—who advised that he’d “dozed off”—admitted having smoked marijuana the previous day and told investigators that he’d stayed up to 2 a.m. that morning before waking at 7 a.m., police said.

The stretch of C.R. 100N on which Ruwaldt had been traveling is posted at 35 miles per hour but a reconstruction of the accident indicates that Ruwaldt was driving at approximately 52 mph when he struck Bradley, police said.

Ruwaldt subsequently tested positive for marijuana in his blood, at 8.82 ng/ml, police said.

While still being held at the Porter County Jail, in November, Ruwaldt joined eight other inmates—including Amanda Bach’s accused killer, Dustin McCowin—in filing a complaint in federal court alleging “cruel and unusual punishment” on the part of jail staff. That complaint specifically alleges that they had been denied visitation privileges as well as access to the law library and outgoing mail.



Posted 1/25/2012