Chesterton Tribune

 

 

ISP: Man dies in I-80/94 crash after grabbing steering wheel from driver

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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 wheel.

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.”

 

Posted 10/21/2013