Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Heart attack suspected in mans death behind wheel

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A Valparaiso man is preliminarily believed to have died of a heart attack which caused him to crash his pickup truck on Tuesday in a one vehicle accident in Porter Township.

An autopsy performed this morning revealed no internal injuries to Mark W. Wiltjer, 46, Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris told the Chesterton Tribune today.

Wiltjer was found unconscious and unresponsive in his vehicle following an accident on Cherrywood Lane.

Harris said that no visible trauma was found on Wiltjer’s body either and that while no ruling has yet been made, the suspected cause of death is heart attack. Wiltjer was pronounced dead at 9:29 p.m. at the Porter hospital ER in Valparaiso, about 50 minutes after he was found behind the wheel of his vehicle.

According to the Porter County Sheriff’s Police, at 8:40 p.m. an officer was dispatched to the area of Cherrywood Lane and Division Road in response to a report of an accident.

On his arrival, the officer observed a Ford pickup truck “with its front end embedded into several large pine trees” in a front yard. Wiltjer was in the driver’s seat, wearing his seat belt, with all airbags deployed, police said.

Wiltjer was “unresponsive and locked inside of his vehicle” and the officer “made the decision to force entry” with a sledge hammer provided by a passer-by, police said. After breaking the passenger’s side window and entering the pickup, the officer found Wiltjer “unconscious and not breathing.”

EMS personnel arrived at the scene, began to administer CPR, and then transported him to Porter ER, where he was later pronounced dead.

Police said that Wiltjer appeared to have been northbound on Cherrywood Lane when he left the roadway, ran through the yard, and came to rest in the pine trees.



Posted 6/8/2011




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