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
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
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,”
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.
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.