CROWN POINT — A woman was charged with four felonies Tuesday in connection with a crash in Gary last spring that killed a man and left another woman in a coma for about two months.
Kayla N. Norwood, 25, of Indianapolis, is accused of climbing out of her car after the rollover crash April 19 on U.S. 20 at Interstate 90 and leaving the scene as a police officer helped firefighters extricate the two victims.
Jerome L. Moore Jr., 29, died at the scene and Valerie Duncan, 27, suffered serious head injuries, according to police and court records. Duncan initially was not expected to survive, but awoke after about two months in a coma and gave a statement to police.
Witnesses told police they came upon an overturned, smoking red Ford Focus and saw a woman, later identified as Norwood, climbing out of the driver's side window, records state.
A police officer arrived and spoke with Norwood, who gave a false name. Norwood was hysterical and told the officer her "sister" was still trapped inside the car, according to court records.
The officer told Norwood to wait at his squad car as he helped firefighters extract Moore and Duncan. When he returned, Norwood was not there. The Focus was registered to Norwood, records said.
Police later located Norwood in the 1000 block of Tennessee Street, about 14 blocks west and five blocks south of the crash site, according to court records.
Authorities obtained a warrant to test Norwood's blood, and results showed her blood alcohol content was 0.169, according to court records. The legal limit for driving is 0.08.
After Duncan came out of the coma, she told police Norwood invited her and Moore to celebrate Norwood's birthday. Norwood drove to a bar, where they played pool and drank, records allege.
Duncan said she didn't notice how much alcohol Norwood drank. She remembered driving back to Gary on Interstate 65, but not the crash, records said.
Duncan told police she recalled waking up as police were trying to remove her from the car and then waking up again in a hospital, where her family told her she had almost died.
Norwood was charged with felony counts of causing death when operating a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, causing serious bodily when operating a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident with serious bodily injury and three misdemeanor counts of operating while intoxicated.
She was not in custody as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Lake County sheriff's police. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call 911.