M'ville attorney accused of fleeing scene of crash in residential yard

2012-11-05T19:55:00Z 2012-11-05T22:30:04Z M'ville attorney accused of fleeing scene of crash in residential yardLauri Harvey Keagle and Susan Brown lauri.keagle@nwi.com, (219) 852-4311, susan.brown@nwi.com, (219) 662-5325 nwitimes.com

SCHERERVILLE | A Merrillville attorney specializing in personal injury and criminal defense law is accused of driving his car through a residential backyard in Schererville and fleeing the scene Friday night, police said.

Police currently are seeking a charge of leaving the scene of an accident against Benjamin Murphy, 39, of the 6700 block of Tanager Street in Schererville, in connection with the incident, according to Schererville Police Lt. Michael Decrescenzo.

Prosecutors said Monday the case continues under investigation.

According to Decrescenzo, at 9:37 p.m., police were called to the 1900 block of Springvale Drive for a report of a vehicle that crashed in the backyard.

Decrescenzo said the homeowner told police she saw a man and a woman flee from a blue 2008 Infinity registered to Murphy. Another woman remained in the backseat of the vehicle, got out and sat on the victim's deck.

Decrescenzo said the car drove through the front lawn and into the back lawn, hitting an Ameritech utility box, a swing set, a wooden deck and a tree.

Police searched the area and an officer and his canine partner found Murphy in the parking lot of Zuni's House of Pizza, 5124 Pine Island Drive.

The officer repeatedly ordered Murphy to lie on the ground but he refused, Decrescenzo said. When the officer threatened to release his canine partner, Murphy complied and was placed into custody, Decrescenzo said.

Officers conducted multiple portable breath tests to determine Murphy's blood alcohol concentration, Decrescenzo said, but they were inconclusive.

"It means he probably didn't do it right," Decrescenzo said. 

Decrescenzo said police determined Murphy was behind the wheel at the time of the crash.

Court records show Murphy faces alcohol-related offenses in an incident that occurred in July 2009. He is charged with operating while intoxicated and operating while intoxicated endangering a person, both misdemeanors, and three traffic infractions in the case, which remains pending in Schererville Town Court. 

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