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Driver in fatal crash had phone cord wrapped around arm, syringes, police say
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Driver in fatal crash had phone cord wrapped around arm, syringes, police say

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Nicholus Wilke

Nicholus Wilke

VALPARAISO — A 29-year-old Michigan City man, charged with causing a fatal crash while driving intoxicated, had a phone cord wrapped several times around his arm like a tourniquet, and two syringes and a bag of the drug fentanyl in his car, according to charging information.

Nicholus Wilke is charged with felony counts of operating while intoxicated causing death, and possession of a drug and a hypodermic needle, as well as three misdemeanor counts of driving while intoxicated, according to the newly filed charges.

A witness told police he saw Wilke's 2014 Chevrolet Sonic driving east on U.S. 12 in Burns Harbor, swerving all over the road and fluctuating in speed shortly after 11 a.m. April 15, according to the charging documents.

As the highway narrowed, Wilke passed the witness vehicle "at an extreme high rate of speed in a no passing zone" and struck a westbound semi-trailer truck, the witness reported.

The driver of the truck, who was unharmed but "shook up," reportedly told police his vehicle was just loaded at the nearby steel mill and he was headed west along U.S. 12 when the red car "came into his lane and crashed into his truck."

Wilke and his female passenger, later identified as Courtney Deming, were trapped inside their vehicle and were unconscious, police said.

While Wilke was being extricated from the vehicle, firefighters discovered he was wearing a home detention ankle monitor, according to police.

Wilke was transported to the hospital and Deming was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Police said they found "a syringe with a reddish clear liquid substance" on the driver's side floor of the vehicle, along with the bag of 3.7 grams of what later tested positive as fentanyl.

A second syringe was found under Deming's body when she was removed from the vehicle, police said.

The case has been assigned to Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary DeBoer and no hearings were yet scheduled as of Monday.

Recent arrests booked into Porter County Jail

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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.

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