Trooper hurt while investigating a crash on I-94

PORTAGE  Monday at approximately 1:23 p.m., Master Trooper Jeff Council was dispatched to the area of I-94 near the 20.2-mile marker of the eastbound lanes to investigate a single-vehicle property damage crash.

A vehicle had driven through high water and crashed. M/Trp. Council was parked with his emergency lights activated when a black, 2021 Kia was traveling in the left lane when the vehicle drove through the same standing water.  The driver of the Kia, John P. Lopez, 37, from Lisle, IL, lost control of the Kia and spun into the path of a semi that was traveling in the center lane. 

The semi struck the Kia causing the Kia to hit the police car. The semi then jackknifed, striking M/Trp. Council’s police car resulted in severe damage. 

Crash 1

M/Trp. Council was seated in the driver’s seat at the time his police car was hit and had to be removed from the Dodge Charger by first responders.  Due to the nature of the injuries sustained by Council, he was transported to Porter Regional Hospital for treatment.

A 2009 Nissan Frontier, driven by Don Bell, 74, from Anchorage, AK was also hit by the semi.  Neither the driver of the semi, Buttar Sandeep Singh, 44, from Georgetown, Ontario, nor Mr. Bell, or Mr. Lopez was injured in the crash.

Assisting at the scene were the following:  Portage Fire, Portage Police, Valparaiso Police, Precision Towing, Porter County Sheriff, INDOT, and Hoosier Helpers.

This is the 6th crash this year where a Lowell trooper has been struck by another vehicle either in or out of their police car. In every incident, the police cars were parked with all emergency lights activated.  In Indiana, as well as our neighboring states, it is required by law that drivers yield to stopped emergency vehicles.  This means slowing down when approaching emergency lights and changing lanes when safe to do so. Also, when driving in inclement weather, remember to drive defensively.  This means decreasing your speeds on wet/slippery roadways and anticipating potential hazards.