ISP Trooper struck while investigating incident on I-80

HAMMOND – Early Saturday morning, ISP troopers were investigating a suspicious incident on I-80/94 EB near the 0.7 mile-marker west of Calumet Ave.

While troopers and the Hammond Fire Department were on scene to assist, a crash occurred separately from the original dispatch. A preliminary investigation by Trooper Luckey revealed that a white 2016 Dodge Charger was traveling eastbound at an extremely high speed when it crashed into a Hammond Fire truck and a black 2009 Subaru.

The Subaru then spun out of control striking a black 2012 Dodge Journey that was parked on the right shoulder. This collision pushed the Journey into Trooper William Carlson who was standing between the Journey and the concrete barrier wall, pinning him against the wall. Trooper Carlson was able to free himself from the crash and requested medical assistance, and was transported to Munster Community Hospital for treatment and later released.

The driver of the Dodge Charger that caused the crash attempted to flee the scene on foot and abandon his seriously injured passenger. As the driver ran away, Trooper Ryan Parent also pursued the suspect on foot. With the assistance of two Good Samaritans who were working in the area, they were able to chase down the suspect and take him into custody.

The suspect was transported to Munster Community Hospital for treatment of minor injuries and released. The suspect, 23-year-old Bryan K. Smith, from North Carolina, is currently being held at the Lake County Jail pending formal charges being approved and filed by the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office.

The passenger in the Dodge Charger, a 23-year-old female from Chicago Heights, IL, sustained serious injuries and was flown to Christ Advocate Hospital for treatment. Her current condition is not known. None of the other drivers or any other officers or firefighters sustained any injuries. A Glock .45 handgun was recovered from inside the Dodge Charger.

The eastbound lanes of I-80/94 were closed/restricted for several hours for crash investigation and scene cleanup.

All suspects are presumed to be innocent until/unless proven guilty in court.