Chesterton Tribune



Mystery truck fished out of Lake Charles found by PFD divers

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It’s a 13- or 14-year-old mystery fished out of Lake Charles on Wednesday by the Porter Fire Department’s Dive/Rescue Team.

A 1994 Ford F-150, rusted all to heck. Who’s was it? How’d it get there?

Porter PD’s working on it.

Lake Charles--like Lakeland Lake in Burns Harbor--is one of the man-made ponds excavated during construction of I-94. It’s deeper than you’d think, some say up to 35 feet down, and until Tuesday night, during the season’s first training exercise, the PFD had never before dove it.

PFD Deputy Chief Jay Craig, and a diver himself, told the Chesterton Tribune that Tuesday’s exercise was meant to be a simple free-dive. He and a buddy and two other divers, buddied up, took to the water around 7 p.m. About 15 minutes later “the other two guys popped up and said they’d found a vehicle,” about 15 feet down and 20 feet out from Lake Charles’ south edge.

Turned out to be a truck, as near as they could tell with their flashlights in the murky water.

A call was made to the PD, an officer arrived at the scene, and after a bit of palaver the decision was made, for safety’s sake, to pull the vehicle out of the drink in the morning.

That was done, the next day, with the help of Joe’s Towing.

Right away, Craig said, they knew the truck had been down there for a while. It’s Indiana license plate was metal and it’s been some time since the BMV has gone to plastic plates.

The truck itself--determined to be a ‘94 F-150 single cab--is in rough shape, Assistant Police Chief Todd Allen said. “Pretty yucky,” actually, and too rusted to know for sure even what color it had been. Possibly maroon but right now that’s anybody’s guess.

“It looks like it’s been in the water a long, long time,” Allen said. Probably since 2000 or 2001, according to the plate sticker.

But so far the PPD has had no hits on either the VIN or the plate number. “Usually, when it’s been out of the system that long, we have to do some manual searching,” Allen noted.

So the PPD has asked the BMV to locate the vehicle’s last registered owner, although “it may take a few days to get that information.” Allen did say that there was no evidence in or about the truck of a crime’s having been committed, that there was nothing inside the truck at all, for that matter.

“We believe it’s stolen but it’s not coming back,” Allen said.

Lake Charles was in the news earlier this year, in April, when the body of a Kalamazoo, Mich., woman reported missing in December, Teleka Cassandra Patrick, 30, was found floating on the surface by a fisherman following the spring thaw.

Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris believes that Patrick drowned in Lake Charles after falling through the ice, as she was trying to walk across the lake to the Travel America truck stop on U.S. Highway 20. Patrick’s car, with a flat tire, was found 35 feet off westbound I-94, directly south of Lake Charles.


Posted 6/16/2014