CROWN POINT — Agents with the U.S. Marshals Service arrested a Chicago man Tuesday in connection with a 2017 four-vehicle crash in Calumet Township that killed a mother of three children.
Demetrius Rodgers, 28, had a handgun on the floorboard and about 4 grams of marijuana on him when he crashed into a vehicle driven by 31-year-old Genecia Hearn on Oct. 15, 2017, at 45th Avenue and Cleveland Street, according to Lake Criminal Court records.
The impact pushed their vehicles into two other cars and caused Hearn's car to roll over.
Hearn was pronounced dead at the scene. Rodgers, who tested positive for marijuana, was taken to Methodist Northlake Hospital Campus for a possible broken leg.
Two other drivers and a passenger in one of their cars were injured, police said.
Rodgers was charged Dec. 19 with two felony counts of causing death while operating a vehicle with a controlled substance in the blood, felony reckless homicide, carrying a handgun without a license and four other misdemeanor counts. He must face extradition proceedings in Illinois before appearing before a Lake Criminal Court judge.
A Lake County sheriff's officer parked at the corner of 45th Avenue and Whitcomb Street saw Rodgers speeding south in a black Chevrolet pickup truck and disregard a stop sign as he turned onto 45th, according to a probable cause affidavit.
The officer attempted to follow Rodgers, who continued to pull ahead of the officer. The officer "was attempting to 'catch up'" to the pickup, but before he could finish radioing in a vehicle description, Rodgers crashed into Heard's vehicle, records state.
Rodgers told the officer he didn't have a permit to carry the handgun on his floorboard and claimed he'd been robbed earlier, the affidavit states. The officer helped medics remove Rodgers from the pickup, and he was taken to the hospital.
Investigators later learned a black Chevrolet pickup had been seen chasing a bluish-colored vehicle in Griffith about 10 minutes before the crash, records state. A Griffith police officer responding to two reckless driving complaints captured images of the vehicles on a dash camera, but the footage did not include a clear shot of the pursuing truck's license plate.
Police found no credible evidence that Rodgers had been robbed, the affidavit states.
In the days after the crash, Hearn's family described her as a loving mother of three children. Just before her death, she was helping family members in Merrillville.