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Two Semi Drivers Killed in I-65 Crash: Update

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(Photos Courtesy of Indiana State Police)
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An investigation continues after a double fatality on southbound I-65 in Tippecanoe County this morning, just before Lafayette. Indiana State Police report a preliminary investigation showed two semi drivers, 44 year old Marek Dziudek of Downer's Grove, Illinois, and 31 year old Tadeusz Wojtaszek of Romeoville, who were outside their vehicles disconnecting a trailer from a disabled semi parked on the outer shoulder, were struck when a third semi, driven by 42 year old Plata Albertico of Berwyn, for unknown reasons did not move over to the left lane, struck the disabled trailer, hitting both the other drivers. Troopers say the third semi then struck both semis before coming to rest in a ditch on the west side of the interstate. Two of the three semis caught fire. Police say the Berwyn man was uninjured. All southbound lanes were closed for more than three hours.
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Pence on Illiana: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

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Pence at Illiana Forum
(Photo Courtesy of Matt Deitchley, INDOT Media Relations Director)
A two-day industry forum on the proposed Illiana Expressway kicked off today in Rosemont, Illinois. Both Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn attended the event this afternoon, and according to the INDOT Northwest Twitter Page, Governor Pence says the two states are partnering for progress, and that the Illiana Expressway is an idea whose time has come, because distributing the things Hoosiers make and grow is key to economic growth.
The gathering, hosted by INDOT and IDOT, is for potential contractors, construction managers, partners and investors in an east-west tollway that would run south of US 30 in the Region, connecting I-65 from south Lake County to I-55 in Illinois. You can hear more of our conversation at News Audio on Demand at regionnewsteam.com.
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Flood and Tornado Safety Tips in Case of Severe Wx

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With the threat for tornadoes and flooding looming over the next few days, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) reminds residents to closely monitor severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service and follow these tips for surviving severe weather. 
Tornado Safety
  • Closely monitor a NOAA weather radio and/or a smartphone weather alerting apps to receive lifesaving severe weather alert information and other emergency messages on a timely basis.
     
  • The best place to shelter in a tornado is indoors.  Start with certified shelters and safe rooms, safe spaces above or below ground, or community shelters in public spaces labeled as official tornado shelters like stores, malls, churches or even airports.
     
  • If caught by extreme winds or flying debris while in a car, park as quickly and safely as possible -- out of the traffic lanes.  Stay in the car with the seat belt on.  Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
  • If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.
      
  • Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.
Flood Safety
  • Whether you are driving or walking, if you come to a flooded road, follow this simple rule:  Turn Around…Don’t Drown.  Just six inches of flowing water can knock a person off their feet.  Eighteen to 24 inches of moving water can wash an SUV off the road.
  • Flooded roads could have significant damage hidden by floodwaters. NEVER drive through floodwaters or on flooded roads. Water only one foot deep can float away most automobiles.
  • Don’t allow children to play near high water, storm drains or ditches.  Hidden dangers could lie beneath the water.
For more information on severe weather safety visit www.flash.org.  For mobile severe weather alerts and mitigation tips, download FLASH Weather Alerts at www.flashweatheralerts.org.
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Armed Robberies Reported by Teens Leaving Festival

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Munster PD
Police are investigating further incidents of teenagers leaving a festival at St. Thomas Church in Munster from over the weekend and being robbed at gunpoint, this after an incident on Thursday in the area of Broadmoor and Calumet. According to officials, one teen reported to police he was confronted early Sunday morning by a group of men, one of which pointed a gun at the teen, in the area of Broadmoor and Tapper Avenues, after reportedly leaving a friend's home prior to attending the festival. Police also report later that night, two teens were robbed by a man with a gun inside a gold or beige Cadillac, also in the area of Broadmoor and Tapper. Anyone with information regarding these incidents are asked to contact Munster Police at (219) 836-6600.
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Two Semi Drivers Killed in I-65 Crash

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Information from The Indiana State Police: In Tippecanoe County, at approximately 7:18 a.m Eastern Time, this Monday, June 24, 2013 morning, a three semi crash on I-65 south bound at the 176 ½ Mile marker (this is 1 ½ mile south of the State Road 43 exit) resulted in the death of two semi drivers.
Preliminary investigation, by Master Trooper Bill Brooks, revealed that a white 2000 Freightliner semi hauling a trailer loaded with a rail container was parked on the outer shoulder. The driver was outside of his vehicle because the semi tractor was disabled. Another tractor (bob-tail) a 1998 red Freightliner had pulled ahead of the first Freightliner as the driver was going to connect to the trailer from the disable 2000 Freightliner. Both drivers from these semis were outside their vehicles, one of them wearing a reflective vest, disconnecting the trailer from the disabled 2000 Freightliner; the trailer they were disconnecting was parked near the fog line on the shoulder.
A white 2004 Freightliner pulling a box trailer, hauling for UPS, and owned by Transcorr LLC out of Indianapolis was southbound when the driver, Plata Albertico, 42 of Berwyn, Illinois, for unknown reasons did not move over to the left lane. Albertico’s tractor struck the disabled trailer parked on the shoulder, hitting both drivers as they were disconnecting the trailer, he then struck both Freightliners parked on the outer shoulder before coming to rest down in the ditch on the west side of the interstate. The red 1998 Freightliner (bob-tail) caught fire after being hit. Albertico’s semi also caught fire and part of his general freight load on his trailer burned. Albertico was not injured. All vehicles and trailers sustained heavy damage.
One driver hit at the scene was pronounced dead by the Tippecanoe County Coroner of massive blunt force trauma the second driver was taken to Indiana University Arnett in Lafayette where the driver was later pronounced dead. Names are being withheld pending notification of their families.
All lanes southbound were blocked and traffic was diverted off at State Road 18 for investigation of the crash, removal of the deceased, removal of the vehicles and trailers, and clean-up. One lane was re-opened at approximately 10:30 A.M. This is still an on-going investigation.
Assisting: Indiana State Police Troopers Derek Scott, Ben Rector, Sergeants Kim Riley, Dan Ziegler, Dave Murray, Lieutenant Jay Janke, White County EMS, Purdue University Police, Lafayette Police, West Lafayette Police and Tippecanoe County Sheriff
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[Photos/Indiana State Police]
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Diabetes Study Shows Success With Psoriasis Drug

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Dr. Mark Rigby [Photo provided/IU]
Researchers have blocked the progression of type 1 diabetes among newly diagnosed patients using a drug originally sold to treat psoriasis, according to the results of a clinical trial reported Saturday at a scientific meeting in Chicago. Dr. Mark Rigby, associate professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine and principal investigator for the trial, says if results are borne out in larger studies, the drug could enable type 1 diabetics to maintain some insulin production and avoid the debilitating complications caused by the disease.
In a multi-center trial of 49 patients, those receiving the drug alefacept were producing the same amount of insulin one year after diagnosis, while patients receiving a placebo injection were producing less, consistent with the deterioration that usually occurs after diagnosis with the disease. The results were announced at the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions.
"These are extremely promising results and offer hope that the progression of type 1 diabetes can be stopped or significantly slowed by a drug that was well-tolerated, without serious adverse events," said Dr. Rigby.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body's immune system attacks beta cells in the pancreas that produce the insulin needed to metabolize sugars and other nutrients into energy needed by the body. The process usually continues until the patient is producing little or none of his or her own insulin, requiring regular injections of insulin to maintain blood sugar levels at close to normal levels.
Nearly 3 million people are estimated to have type 1 diabetes in the United States. Although the disease can be managed with insulin injections, it cannot be reversed or cured. Long-term complications can include visual impairment, heart disease, stroke, problems in the extremities leading to amputation and other issues.
Trial participants ranged in age from 12 to 35 and had recently been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Two-thirds were randomly assigned to the group receiving alefacept injections, with the remaining patients receiving a placebo injection of saline solution. The participants received weekly injections for three months, followed by three months of no injections, then three more months of weekly injections.
Alefacept is an immunosuppressant drug that binds to and interferes with the actions of certain immune system T-cells that are believed to be involved with the destruction of beta cells in the pancreas.
A year after receiving the initial injections, the study participants were tested for insulin production using a standard mixed meal tolerance test, or "shake test."
The participants will continue to be tested until two years after starting treatment. The additional testing may reveal whether the alefacept treatments have resulted in "re-education" of the immune system so that patients would not need further treatments with the drug, Dr. Rigby said.
The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Immune Tolerance Network, sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the NIH.
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Govs Pence, Quinn to Illiana Forum

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Indiana Governor Mike Pence will be talking transportation will Illinois Governor Pat Quinn today. Both governors will be attending the Illiana Corridor Industry Forum that takes place in Rosemont, Illinois. INDOT and IDOT are hosting the two-day international industry forum for potential contractors, construction managers, partners and investors. Later this afternoon, Governor Pence is scheduled to tour the homeless charity, “A Safe Haven Foundation” in Chicago.
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Trial to Begin in Alleged Lake Co Hit-and-Run

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Jury trial is scheduled to begin in Crown Point today for Jason Cozmanoff, who is accused in an alleged hit-and-run crash that killed Lake County Corrections Officer Brittney Meux and injured three others as they were jogging along West 93rd Avenue in Crown Point in March of last year. The 43-year-old Lakes of the Four Seasons man faces charges that include reckless homicide and criminal recklessness. Earlier this month a Lake County judge approved a request from the defense to remove a memorial for Meux at the Lake County Government Center and Court complex before and during the length of the trial.
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Trial for Mother of SlainToddler to Begin

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Jury selection is scheduled to begin today in Lake County in a case stemming from the death of a two-year-old Portage girl, Jada Justice, whose body was found in concrete in a LaPorte County swamp four years ago. Prosecutors accuse the victim's mother, 31-year-old Melissa Swiontek, of endangering her child by leaving her with a couple known to sell and take drugs. The woman's cousin, Engelica Castillo, was found guilty of murder, and the cousin's boyfriend, Timothy Tkachik, pleaded guilty to neglect. Last week, a Lake County judge dropped the more serious of two neglect of a dependent charges Swiontek was facing.
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Fatal Semi Crash Stops Traffic on I-65

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Traffic-Alert
In Tippecanoe County, the Indiana State Police at Lafayette Post are at the scene of a fatal crash involving multiple semis that has closed I-65 at the 177 mile marker which is just south of the State Road 43 exit in Tippecanoe County. Southbound traffic is being diverted off at the 188 mile marker exit which is SR 18. Go west on SR 18 to US 231. At US 231, go south to US 52. Go east on US 52 till you get to SR 25 north then go north back onto I-65. It is unknown how long the detour will last. State Police say more information about the crash will be forthcoming.
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Police Blow Up Backpack in Indianapolis

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In Indianapolis this morning, the police department's bomb squad blew up what was described as a suspicious backpack outside the federal courthouse. The security guard who noticed the backpack called police - who brought in a bomb sniffing dog. Indianapolis police spokesman Michael Hewitt says the dog alerted on the backpack , then the the bomb squad was called out and the blew up the backpack.  " The scene is secure now," Hewett said. "There are no injuries. The local hotels were notified that they were gonna hear a loud bang."
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Triple Homicide in Gary

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Police in Gary are investigating a triple homicide. The Lake County Coroners office says 34-year-old Michael Andrews and 22-year-old Briean Jiles, both of Gary, and 27-year-old Antonio Dove, address unknown, suffered multiple gunshot wounds and were all pronounced dead at the scene shortly before 2 am Sunday in the 58-hundred block of East 13th Place, in the city's Aetna neighborhood. Police say they received a call of shots fired around 1 am, and officers found all three men in the street.
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Service Resuming Michigan City to South Bend

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The operators of the South Shore say the commuter line is resuming all regularly scheduled train service between South Bend and Michigan City this morning, Monday June 24. The first westbound train will be Train 12 departing South Bend at 6:32 a.m. ET. The first eastbound train from Chicago will be Train 7, arriving South Bend at 12:08 p.m. ET
Northern Indaina Commuter Transportation District says busing began on Thursday morning when a garbage truck struck and damaged a bridge in Hudson Lake in La Porte County. NICTD says their crews and personnel from Tonn & Blank of Michigan City were able to acquire replacement steel and make all necessary repairs in order to restore train service ahead of schedule.
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Hobart Farmer Dies, May Have Fallen

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The death of a Lake Station man and well-known area farmer who volunteered and prepared food at area events remains under investigation, but Hobart Police say the circumstances were not suspicious. The Lake County Coroners office says 72-year-old Anthony Wirtz was pronounced dead shortly after 3-o'clock Friday afternoon in the five-thousand block of East 70th Avenue in Hobart. Authorities say he suffered head trauma, and that it appears he might have fallen off a tractor while working the fields of his family's farm, but the manner of death has not yet been determined.
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Woman Injured by Tiger in Indiana

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A woman, reportedly an intern, was injured at a central Indiana refuge for large cats after a tiger went through a gate which she reportedly failed to close. Officials say the tiger held her head in his mouth until co-workers freed her by spraying the animal with a hose. The 21-year-old Chicago-area woman was reportedly listed in critical condition last night at an Indianapolis hospital, but her injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.
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Teens Reportedly Robbed at Gunpoint

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Police are investigating the report of two teenagers allegedly being robbed at gunpoint around 11:30 Thursday night. The 17-year-old boys were reportedly walking home from a festival at Thomas More church on Calumet Avenue in Munster when they were approached by two men and held up in the area of Broadmoor and Calumet.
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Jury Trial Monday in Fatal Alleged Hit-and-Run

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Jury trial is scheduled to begin in Crown Point this Monday for Jason Cozmanoff, who is accused in an alleged hit-and-run crash that killed Lake County Corrections Officer Brittney Meux and injured three others as they were jogging along West 93rd Avenue in Crown Point in March of last year. The 43-year-old Lakes of the Four Seasons man faces charges that include reckless homicide and criminal recklessness. Last week a Lake County judge approved a request from the defense to remove a memorial for Meux at the Lake County Government Center and Court complex before and during the length of the trial.
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Streets Closed for Taste of Region

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Traffic-Advisory
This traffic reminder from Crown Point Fire Rescue... Roads in the downtown area remain closed due to the Taste of The Region, on the Downtown Square around the Old Lake County Courthouse.
The event opened up Friday and then strong storms rolled through the Region... Summer's arrival early Friday was followed about half-the-day later by heavy downpours and lightning strikes, including a report of lightning hitting the highest point of Timothy Ball Elementary School in Crown Point, firefighters finding smoke when they arrived. School was not in session.
Authorities say there were scattered outages accompanying the storms Friday afternoon, mainly in the Gary, Crown Point, Lowell and Valparaiso area, mainly due to limbs landing on power lines.
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Public Input Sessions on SR 49 Study

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A couple of public input sessions are coming up in a couple days at the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce office to get feedback for the State Road 49 corridor study. Residents can come out Monday and/or Tuesday afternoon to view possible development ideas for the corridor, from State Road 2 , or LaPorte Avenue, north to US 6.  Monday's (June 24) ession is 2-5:30pm; Tuesday (June 25) is 1-4:30pm.
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Investigation into Death of Lake Station Man in Hobart

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A 72 year old Lake Station man is dead due to head trauma after an incident that occurred this afternoon in the five-thousand block of East 70th Avenue in Hobart. The Lake County Coroner's Office reports Anthony Wirtz was pronounced dead at 3:09 this afternoon, and that the manner of death is being withheld pending an investigation. No further information is available at this time.
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