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Portage woman struck while helping rescue dog; motorist charged, police say
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Portage woman struck while helping rescue dog; motorist charged, police say

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Gary Neeley

Gary Neeley

PORTAGE — A 69-year-old motorist faces a felony charge after allegedly running his vehicle into one of several people stopped in the roadway attempting to catch a small dog that was running loose, police said.

The 40-year-old Portage woman said she had stopped on Swanson Road shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday to help others catch the dog when a vehicle driven by Gary Neeley, of Portage, turned south on to the roadway from Robbins Avenue, police said.

Join Tristan DeFord, Jami Rieck, and Nancy Zakutanksky on a shift working for Superior Ambulance in Merrillville.

She told police she held her arm out motioning for him to stop and then turned her back on him with her arms still extended when he did stop. But Neeley then began honking his horn and yelled out his window, "Move, I have (expletive) to do."

When she did not move, the woman said Neeley bumped her with his 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander SUV.

"(The woman) said it did not knock her to the ground, but the bumper of the vehicle hit her in her lower back causing pain," according to the incident report.

The woman said she did not move because other people were in the roadway trying to catch the small dog. Neeley again bumped her in the back with his vehicle, police said.

When the dog was caught, the woman said she moved off the roadway and called 911, according to police. She was taken to the hospital for treatment.

Witnesses told police they saw Neeley bump the woman at least twice, police said. They also saw him yelling at the woman and attempting to leave his vehicle, but was held back by a younger passenger.

Neeley claimed the woman jumped on his vehicle, police said. He first claimed his vehicle was rolling forward and then claimed he was stopped.

"I questioned him about the contradiction in his story and he stated it happened so fast he could not remember," police said.

Neeley was taken into custody and faces a felony count of criminal recklessness and misdemeanor battery, police said.

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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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