Fatal chase

From left are Donnell Howard Jr. and Jessica Pichon.

CROWN POINT — Attempts to reach a plea bargain for the defendant accused of causing a car crash in February that killed a 13-year-old Whiting girl have failed, a prosecutor said Thursday at Lake Criminal Court.

Michelle Jatkiewicz, a deputy prosecuting attorney, said at the court hearing the state offered a plea agreement to Donnell Howard Jr. that would resolve charges of resisting law enforcement, reckless homicide and misdemeanor theft.

Jatkiewicz said Howard rejected the agreement, and the state was unwilling to accept a counter-offer.

Howard, 32, of Highland, is accused of leading police on a high-speed chase Feb. 15 that ended in a two-vehicle crash that killed Julianna Chambers and injured her grandmother, Theresa Paramo, according to a probable cause affidavit.

The chase started after Howard and a co-defendant, Jessica S. Pichon, allegedly attempted to steal beer from Strack and Van Til, 4725 Indianapolis Blvd. in East Chicago, the affidavit states.

Howard is scheduled to appear at trial Jan. 16. A pretrial conference is scheduled for Dec. 7.

Pichon, 28, is next scheduled to appear in court Oct. 11.

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Lake County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.