A Valparaiso man who authorities say was driving drunk in a July 4 accident
which killed his wife and seriously injured another person has been charged
with eight felonies.
Dwayne Johnson, 67, was formally charged on Monday. The most serious
charges: two Level 4 counts of operating while intoxicated-causing death, a
Level 5 count of OWI-causing death, and a Level 5 count of reckless
A Level 4 felony is punishable by a term of two to 12 years, with an
advisory term of six years.
A Level 5 felony is punishable by a term of one to six years, with an
advisory term of three years.
A person convicted of either must serve 75 percent of the sentence.
Johnson was also charged with four Level 6 counts, punishable by a term of
six months to 18 months; and with four misdemeanor counts as well.
According to the Porter County Sheriff’s Police, at 9:40 p.m. July 4 Johnson
was northbound on C.R. 250W, driving a 2002 Lincoln Town Car, when he
disregarded a red light at the intersection of U.S. Highway 30 and collided
with a second vehicle eastbound on U.S. 30.
The driver of the second vehicle, a 2006 Chevrolet HHR, was Andrew Young,
41, of Warsaw, Ind.
Johnson’s wife, Theresa Johnson, 66, sustained “massive blunt force trauma”
and “traumatic internal injuries,” including the transection of her aorta,
and was transported to Porter Regional Hospital, where she subsequently
died, police said.
Young sustained only a small laceration to his knee but his front-seat
passenger, his wife, Erin Young, 41, suffered “significant injuries” and was
transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill., police
The Youngs’ children, 5 and 1, were both in child safety seats and sustained
minor injuries, police said.
Johnson, for his part, was transported to St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart,
where he showed signs of intoxication and registered a blood alcohol content
of .206 serum, police said. A blood sample tested at Great Lakes Labs showed
a B.A.C. of .17 whole blood, police said.
Motorists in Indiana are considered legally intoxicated when they score a
B.A.C. of .08 percent or higher.
A witness traveling behind Johnson on C.R. 250W just prior to the crash
advised police that Johnson’s Lincoln “was swerving within and out of its
lane of travel.” Another witness, traveling behind Young, confirmed that
Young had the green light when Johnson struck him, police said.