CROWN POINT | The family of a Crown Point man killed in a fiery crash last month in St. John is suing a man accused of drunken driving and causing the wreck.
Paul Gebauer, 59, died March 17 after David Hatfield, 39, of St. John, crashed into the back of Gebauer's van on U.S. 231 and it became engulfed in flames, police said.
Hatfield faces criminal charges of operating while intoxicated resulting in a death, two counts of leaving the scene of a crash resulting in a death and two counts of operating while intoxicated.
An attorney for Gebauer's family said April 20 that a civil wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against Hatfield in Lake County court. The family is seeking damages for medical, funeral and burial expenses, lost earnings, loss of love and companionship, and more, according to the lawsuit.
Hatfield was driving a 2012 Chevrolet Camaro west on U.S. 231 at 5:20 a.m. when it crashed into the back of a 1998 GMC van driven by Gebauer near Park Place in St. John, police said. Gebauer died at the scene.
Hatfield's car also was destroyed by the fire, police said.
Hatfield tried to leave the scene on foot but was arrested by a St. John officer, police said.