Police: Hammond woman crashes into semi after birthday drinking binge

2012-10-27T17:15:00Z 2012-10-28T00:42:04Z Police: Hammond woman crashes into semi after birthday drinking bingeMarc Chase marc.chase@nwi.com, (219) 662-5330 nwitimes.com
October 27, 2012 5:15 pm  • 

GARY | A Hammond woman gave herself an unwelcome birthday present early Saturday, running her car into the rear of a semi after a night of drinking and earning a drunken driving charge, police said.

Natasha M. Garza, 34, of Hammond, had been out drinking in celebration of her birthday Friday, according to Indiana State Police.

Garza was going west in the right middle lane of Interstate 80 near Gary about 2:40 a.m. Saturday when her Chevrolet Cobalt crashed into the rear of a semitrailer, police said.

The driver of the semitrailer did not realize at first that his truck had been rear-ended and kept driving for more than a mile with Garza's car wedged under the truck, police said.

Gary Fire Department rescue workers extricated Garza from the car. She was transported to Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus with arm and ankle injuries that were considered non-life threatening, police said.

Her blood alcohol level was 0.21, police said. The legal limit for driving is 0.08.

Garza was charged with drunken driving, driving on a suspended license and following a vehicle too closely in traffic, police said.

The driver of the semi, Juan G. Palafox, 53, of Romeoville, Ill., was cited for a logbook violation and load securing issues not related to the crash, police said.

The wreck tied up traffic on westbound Interstate 80 until about 4 a.m. Saturday.

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