CROWN POINT — A woman told police she fell asleep on a friend's couch after going out drinking and dancing and awoke as she was being raped by the friend's boyfriend, court records show.
Brandon Brooks, 30, of South Holland, was charged Thursday in Lake Criminal Court with two counts of rape.
The woman told police Brooks gave her a pill she believed to be Percocet before she, her female friend and Brooks left the friend's Hammond apartment that night.
Upon their return to the friend's apartment, Brooks ensured the woman had makeup remover, clothes to sleep in and was comfortable before he went to the bedroom he shared with the woman's friend, court records say.
The woman told police she awoke to Brooks raping her on the couch. She was intoxicated and was unsure how long the sex assault continued, records say.
The woman eventually was able to get away from Brooks, unsuccessfully attempted to wake her friend and finally got in her car, records say.
Brooks followed the woman around during that time, "asking why she was crying and telling her he thought she would be OK with what happened," records allege.
Brooks attempted to open the passenger door to the woman's car, but she drove away, records say. She later went to a hospital for collection of a sexual assault kit.
VALPARAISO — Police are searching for two men and one woman following an alleged armed robbery at a hotel in Valparaiso Sunday.
Police responded about 9 p.m. Sunday to the Super 8 hotel at 3005 John Howell Drive in Valparaiso following reports of an armed robbery. The robbery happened in a rented room in the hotel, police said.
According to police, the victims said two men and one woman entered the hotel room after knocking and displayed a handgun. The suspects then allegedly began to collect an estimated $680 worth of property belonging to the victims and the hotel before leaving minutes later.
An investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Sgt. Melanie Sheets at 219-462-2135. People can also text TIP411 at 847-411 and should type “Valpo” in the message field before sending the text message.
CROWN POINT — An East Chicago man has until this fall to decide whether to take a plea deal in a case linked to a shooting outside a Gary nightclub that left a Griffith man dead.
Chauncey L. Hackett Jr., 28, is accused of shooting at a Gary police officer who responded to a report of gunshot victims Feb. 26, 2017, at the Top Shelf nightclub at 1700 Grant St. The club also has been known as Hustle and Joe’s.
The disturbance quickly escalated into a shootout that left Dvontai Wright, 25, of Griffith, dead and four other men wounded. Court records did not indicate who fired the fatal shot at Wright that night.
Two Gary officers discharged their weapons during the shootout, but neither was wounded, police said.
Hackett was charged in Lake Criminal Court in June 2017 with attempted murder and carrying a handgun without a license. He was released from jail days later after posting bond.
Hackett appeared Friday with defense attorney John Cantrell.
Cantrell, who previously has sought several continuances while Hackett considered a plea agreement, said he was not seeking a trial date, but the state was.
Judge Samuel Cappas set a pretrial hearing for Oct. 22 and scheduled Hackett's trial to start Nov. 18.
Lake County Supervisory Deputy Prosecutor Michelle Jatkiewicz said Oct. 22 will be the last day Hackett can accept the proposed plea agreement.
Reports of a tornado touching down in Dyer, just east of the state line Monday, were confirmed by the National Weather Service.
Using reports from storm spotters and submitted photos, meteorologist Lee Carlaw with the National Weather Service in Romeoville, Illinois, said the NWS was able to confirm the twister touched down briefly, leaving an estimated 75- to 100-yard track.
Just before 4:30 p.m., marble-sized hail began to fall in the Munster area, continuing for at least 10 minutes.
The NWS tweeted that a storm cell had produced increasing rotation in eastern Will and southeast Cook counties, headed in the direction of Dyer. A later tweet indicated a tornado may have been developing in Merrillville.
Trained spotters reported a confirmed tornado touch down near the Illinois-Indiana state line, NWS tweeted at 4:33 p.m.
Carlaw said the initial tornadic super cell near Dyer was an average moving storm, traveling east at 30 mph. He said the tornadic cell tracked east and out of Porter County by 5:30 p.m. Monday. The meteorologist called the Dyer touchdown "extremely brief and short lived."
On Willow Lane in Dyer, residents ventured out of their homes to survey the damage. Most were in good spirits.
On their block, some trees were knocked over and branches hung limp. Others were scattered across lawns, sidewalks and roads. Siding from houses and roof shingles were strewn about.
Chris Artim said he got his wife, Judy, and dog downstairs once the sky became dark and a funnel formation was making its way toward their home.
“I was watching it,” he said. “I saw the debris. I got down in the crawlspace. I just heard a lot of racket. It sounded like a train.”
A tree was knocked over the roof of his home. Neighbors helped him remove it from the roof.
Bob Kerwin, who lives down the street, brought a chainsaw to start cutting into the large trunks.
“I watched as it came through,” Kerwin said. “It got worse as it came along. That was nuts.”
Barb Butcher also had a tree knocked down in her backyard. She says the funnel cloud ripped the top half of a tree trunk off and laid it onto the patio.
“It was straight out of the Wizard of Oz,” Butcher said.
NIPSCO reported hundreds of power outages Monday night in the Dyer and Munster areas caused primarily by falling trees taking out power lines, NIPSCO public affairs manager Dana Berkes said. By 9:15 p.m. Monday many of those outages were restored.
Photos and videos of the storm appeared on social media shortly after it passed through the Dyer area. This photo, shared on Twitter by @NWI_Cubs_Fan, shows cloud rotations in the area of Calumet Avenue and U.S. 30.
Tornado warnings were issued in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties as the storm continued to move east. An initial storm cell was followed by another, both of which moved through Central Illinois earlier in the day.
The series of storms that swept the Region did produce other reports of rapidly rotating storm clouds in parts of Lake and Porter counties.
Carlaw said the Region can expect thunderstorm chances to continue through the end of the week, with storms forecast tomorrow bringing a chance for damaging straight line wind, large hail and possibly a repeat of Monday's tornadic activity.
"We're in a pretty active weather pattern here," Carlaw said. "This part of Illinois and this part of the U.S. is certainly no stranger to tornadic super cells."
Times digital producer Kale Wilk contributed to this report.
CROWN POINT — A 71-year-old man was sentenced last week for causing a crash in 2017 that killed an East Chicago woman and injured three others.
Denver C. Brown, of South Bend, must serve five years in prison, followed by two years in the Lake County Community Corrections work-release program and one year on probation, court records show.
Brown had a blood alcohol content of 0.022 on April 8, 2017, when he crossed a center line in the 3300 block of Michigan Street in Hammond and collided nearly head-on with a 2007 Mazda 6.
A passenger in the Mazda, Maria Chavez-Gonzalez, 55, of East Chicago, was killed in the crash, the affidavit states.
Three other women in the vehicle suffered injuries that included broken bones and head injuries.
Lake Criminal Court Judge Clarence Murray ordered Brown to participate in a problem-solving court as a condition of his probation and enroll in a substance abuse program.
At the time of the crash, he had one prior conviction for drunken driving. He was charged with operating while intoxicated in 2006, but he later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and successfully completed probation.