Authorities: Drunk IU student escapes injury after car hit by train

2012-06-07T16:15:00Z 2012-06-07T18:12:39Z Authorities: Drunk IU student escapes injury after car hit by trainBy Jeff Burton jeff.burton@nwi.com, (219) 548-4354 nwitimes.com

UNION TOWNSHIP | An Indiana University student was drunk early Wednesday, authorities said, when she drove onto a set of railroad tracks and was struck by an oncoming train.

Katherine Klinge, 20, of Bloomington, escaped injury but faces marijuana possession, minor consumption and a series of drunken driving charges, as well as an outstanding warrant out of Monroe County, according to investigators.

Porter County Sheriff's Department officials responded about 4 a.m. Wednesday to Park Avenue, just south of Ind. 130 in the Wheeler area, for a crash. Officers found Klinge's unoccupied car about 10 feet west of the intersection with heavy damage to the passenger side.

Klinge was found walking along Park Avenue and she smelled of alcohol, had watery, bloodshot eyes and slurred speech, investigators reported.

Officers said Klinge, who was identified by her Indiana University identification card, initially denied being involved in the crash but later admitted to being the driver.

Authorities said Klinge explained she had been drinking at a house in Valparaiso and was taking a friend home when they stopped at an active rail crossing.

Klinge told authorities they were waiting for the train to pass when her foot slipped off the brake pedal and drove onto the tracks. When the car's rear end got stuck, she said her passenger got out and walked home.

Klinge told investigators she didn't see or hear the oncoming eastbound train and when it hit her car, the vehicle spun around.

Klinge wasn't injured in the crash. Investigators said she failed a series of field sobriety tests and was reportedly found with a blood-alcohol content more than twice the 0.08 legal limit.

During a search of the car, officers said they found a pill bottle with marijuana.

Klinge was taken to Porter County Jail.

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