Officials: Driver in fatal Westville area crash was high on PCP

2012-08-15T16:15:00Z 2012-09-15T17:42:50Z Officials: Driver in fatal Westville area crash was high on PCPStan Maddux Times Correspondent
August 15, 2012 4:15 pm  • 

The man who caused the head-on collision that killed a Valparaiso woman and seriously injured two grade school-age sisters was found with extremely high levels of PCP in his bloodstream, according to court documents.

LaPorte Circuit Court Judge Tom Alevizos ruled Tuesday there was sufficient evidence to bring charges against John Mikle, 35, of Michigan City.

Mikle was at large Wednesday after Alevizos on Tuesday issued a warrant for his arrest on felony charges of reckless homicide and operating while intoxicated causing death.

Mikle also is charged with two counts of operating while intoxicated causing serious bodily injury, a Class D felony, and Class C misdemeanor operating while intoxicated.

Katherine Atkins, 26, was killed about 7:30 a.m. July 19 on Joliet Road near Westville.

Neilah Maule, 7, still was hospitalized Wednesday but showing improvement from a severe head injury, according to courtroom testimony.

Jaidyn Maule, 5, is at home recovering from a severely fractured leg.

Mikle also was injured but checked himself out of the hospital against the advice of doctors, said LaPorte County Deputy Prosecutor Chris Fronk.

Police said Atkins was taking the girls, who were her boyfriend's daughters, to the home of their grandparents in LaPorte when Mikle veered over the center line on a curve.

A witness told police Mikle had accelerated from a stop sign just prior to the crash.

According to police, the extent of the damage to both vehicles indicated high speed was a factor in the collision.

LaPorte County police Detective Scott Boswell told the court the tires Mikle was driving on had very little tread and it was raining at the time of the crash.

He also said the speed limit is 45 mph but the curve on which they were traveling has a posted advisory speed limit of 20.

Boswell also revealed a blood test showed Mikle had a very high level of PCP and a ''relatively high'' amount of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in his system.

A plastic bag containing an undisclosed amount of marijuana was recovered from Mikle's vehicle, Boswell said.

Boswell also testified that Mikle, when questioned about the crash, admitted using both drugs at some point before the crash.

Fronk said it took nearly a month to file charges because of the wait involved in getting blood test results and whether Neilah was going to survive her injuries.

"She apparently is not as touch-and-go as she was for awhile there," Fronk said.

According to court records, Mikle was charged with driving on a suspended license just over two weeks after the collision.

He also has a prior criminal record with convictions of possession of marijuana and conversion from 2008.

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