Woman charged in I-94 hit-run death

2013-08-30T14:00:00Z 2013-08-30T23:44:22Z Woman charged in I-94 hit-run deathPhil Wieland phil.wieland@nwi.com, (219) 548-4352 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | Charges have been filed by the Porter County Prosecutor's Office against a Portage woman for the hit-and-run death of Ricky Kimble, of LaPorte, on Aug. 4 as he walked along Interstate 94.

Patricia A. Callahan was charged with leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death, reckless homicide and insurance fraud. Callahan filed an insurance claim stating she hit a deer and some construction equipment causing more than $4,400 in damage to her Pontiac G6 GT.

Kimble was reported missing Aug. 5 by his girlfriend. His body was discovered by a mowing crew on Aug. 6 along the eastbound lanes of I-94. An autopsy showed numerous fractures to his leg and spine and internal injuries that were consistent with being struck by a vehicle going at considerable speed.

According to the affidavit filed by the investigating officer Portage Detective Brian Kubiak, Burns Harbor Police Officer Adam Zosso contacted Portage police on Aug. 7 about a car brought to Arnell Chevrolet by a woman claiming to have hit a deer, but the damage did not appear to be related to hitting an animal.

Considerable damage was done to the passenger side of the car's hood, right front, windshield and roof "consistent with a body being struck and landing on the hood then being thrown into the windshield and over the roof of the vehicle," Kubiak said.

Black hair and white fibers were embedded in the glass, blood, hair and "other biological matter" were on the vehicle, and it had brown and black smudges. Kubiak said Kimble was wearing brown shoes that apparently caused the brown smudge.

Acquaintances of Callahan's said she was at a home in Gary playing cards, drinking vodka and tequila the night of the accident. Witnesses said she left about 4 a.m., taking a bottle of tequila with her. She contacted the friends the next day to get a ride to Walmart saying she hit a deer. The friends said they didn't believe her and later checked for reports of a person hit by a car.

Another friend told police Callahan asked "If I hit a person, what would happen?" Told she probably would go to jail, she reportedly said, "I can't go to jail." The insurance agent told police he didn't believe her story either but didn't have enough information to deny the claim.

When questioned by police, Callahan repeated her claim of hitting a deer and then some construction equipment but changed the story under additional questioning, according to court documents. Police said no construction equipment was damaged and there was no evidence of a deer being struck. The accident occurred at least half-a-mile past the construction zone.

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