HAMMOND | Hammond's school superintendent ran off the road in a district vehicle Saturday near a city doughnut shop, striking a brick wall, a garage and ultimately plowing into a wooden playhouse in the yard of a residence, police said.
A Hammond Police Department report obtained by The Times on Tuesday states School City of Hammond Superintendent Walter Watkins, 66, drove a 2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee northwest through the Dunkin' Donuts parking lot at the intersection of Calumet Avenue and 173rd about 11 a.m. Saturday.
The vehicle then went over a curb, crossed 173rd Street, struck a brick wall near the Walgreens parking lot, hit a chain-link fence and storage building behind Terry's Aquarium and then struck a wooden playhouse and tree in the backyard of a home in the 7200 block of Jefferson Avenue, police said.
Watkins, who confirmed being involved in the accident Tuesday, said he was lucky to have survived.
“I don't know what to say other than the fact it was an accident,” Watkins said.
He said the vehicle is likely beyond repair, and he's not driving another district vehicle at this time. The accident caused up to $10,000 in damage, the police report states.
Watkins received a ticket for unreasonable speed, said Lt. Richard Hoyda said, Hammond police spokesman.
A witness observed the driver squealing the vehicle's tires and speeding up rapidly from the parking lot of the Dunkin' Donuts across 173rd Street, according to the police report.
The responding officer said Watkins appeared in normal health. No blood alcohol breath test was administered, according to the police report.
Hammond School Board President Deborah White could not be reached for comment Tuesday.