VALPARAISO — Police have released a second video that more clearly appears to support the claim that a local woman dragged a man through a parking lot with her car after refusing to pay for a manicure at a local salon.
The video, which was captured by a surveillance camera from a restaurant near the Diamond Nails & Spa at 2505 LaPorte Ave. in Valparaiso, comes in addition to another video captured moments before inside the spa.
Charley Fowler, 28, of Valparaiso, has been charged with a misdemeanor count of theft.
She had also faced a misdemeanor count of criminal recklessness at the time of her arrest stemming from accusations she dragged a salon employee across the parking lot. But prosecutors opted against pursuing that charge after viewing the video shot inside the business.
Her attorney, Bob Harper, said he interprets the charging decision to mean that the video upholds Fowler's claims that she only began driving away once salon employees starting beating on her white BMW.
The case has been assigned to Porter Superior Court Judge David Chidester and no initial hearing had been scheduled as of Wednesday morning.
The incident, which has attracted national media attention, occurred just before noon Saturday at the Diamond Nails & Spa, 2505 LaPorte Ave. in Valparaiso.
Fowler is accused by Valparaiso police of walking out of the business without paying a $30 bill after voicing her displeasure with a manicure.
While salon employees told police they offered to redo the manicure and Fowler declined, Harper said Fowler was too busy to stay and said she would return the following day.
When salon employees opted to call police, Fowler said she would wait in her vehicle, Harper said.
But Harper pointed out that Fowler is not accused of hitting the employee with her vehicle and dragging him. The employee jumped on her car, which Harper said is reflective of the improper vigilante approach in settling this case.
Fowler, who works as a mental health therapist in Munster, said Monday she hoped to have the case dismissed.
Harper has argued that the incident is civil and not criminal in nature.
"It's not a crime in Indiana to have a dispute over services," he said.
Gallery: Recent arrests booked into Porter County Jail
LAPORTE — A 26-year-old woman died Tuesday in a possible suicide involving a train, police said.
Members of the train crew told LaPorte police the woman ran out in front of the train, which included 102 cars and was traveling about 42 mph, police Capt. Bill Degnegaard said. The crash happened about 6:40 p.m.
The train crew initiated emergency stopping procedures, but was unable to halt the train before striking the woman, police said.
The woman was pronounced dead at the scene.
LaPorte County government sent several alerts Tuesday saying most rail crossings in the city of LaPorte were blocked because of a train incident.
The demolition of the River Oaks Theaters in Calumet City, a landmark multiplex where many Region residents first saw cinema classics like "Star Wars," "Godfather," and "Silence of the Lambs," has left many wondering what happened to a time capsule that was buried there when it opened in 1969.
Region resident John Doherty showed up for the first film ever shown at the theater, when the theater placed a time capsule in a 3-by-3 foot lined-off section of the front concrete pavement by the original box office.
"It created quite the buzz when it opened," he said.
The time capsule was supposed to be opened in 2019, on the 50th anniversary of the theater.
The movie house, which originally opened as the one-screen River Oaks Dimension 150 Theatre with 1,600 rocking-chair seats, a large curved screen, auditorium lights and a giant curtain that opened in the middle, never made it to the golden anniversary, closing in 2006 as a result of the merger between Loew's and AMC, after showing the Queen Latifah vehicle "Last Holiday" as its final film.
Then-Loews River Oaks Theater 9-10 Managing Director Jim Leparski retrieved the time capsule on the theater's last day of operation in 2006, 13 years before it was supposed to be pulled out, but it also proved to be a bust. The capsule contained mostly paper items, such as letters written by Thornton Fractional South honor students, that were turned into a soggy mess because the capsule was waterlogged, according to The Times of Northwest Indiana archives.
Little was legible other than an old Bank of River Oaks brochure advertising safe-deposit boxes for $4 a year, a Hammond Times ad for a 12-pack of Miller beer for $2.29, and a letter from then-Calumet City Chamber of Commerce President Donald Hixon that "predicted that the then new River Oaks Shopping Center would bring great changes to Calumet City, as the city was transformed from light industry to a retail center."
Though still home to a busy trade area, Calumet City has suffered many retail losses in recent years such as Carson Pirie Scott, Sears and Target.
River Oaks Theaters, which was once a regional destination because of its stereo sound and 70mm projectors, was to be torn down shortly after the closing in 2006, but that didn't happen the way it was supposed to either.
The movie theater where generations of Region residents saw films like "Saturday Night Fever," "Grease" and "Titantic," rotted empty for more than a decade until new owner, Namdar Realty Group/Mason Asset Management, bought the River Oaks Center mall for $26.3 million last year.
After discussions with the city, the new owner decided to raze the River Oaks Theater, which was deemed "no longer viable."
Calumet City Economic Development Coordinator Pete Saunders said it wasn't yet clear what would come next there.
The engineering firm HNTB has begun work on a strategic plan that could result in the implementation of tolling on non-tolled interstate highways in Indiana.
The strategic plan will "define the how, why, when and where of tolling," according to a letter of interest HNTB submitted to the Indiana Department of Transportation last year.
The contract, entered into this spring, calls for the state to pay up to $9.6 million for the plan. A draft is due Oct. 1, and a final version Dec. 1.
HNTB and subcontractors will perform a statewide traffic analysis and estimate potential revenues, determine a preferred toll rate structure, develop a toll collection system and estimate its costs, develop a sequencing plan for establishing tolls, perform environmental impact studies to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act, implement a public relations and communication program, and advise INDOT on various technical and managerial issues.
The state is considering five interstate corridors for tolling: I-94 from Illinois to Michigan; I-65 from I-90 south to I-465 and then south from I-465 to the Ohio River; and I-70 from the Illinois state line to I-465, then from I-465 to the Ohio state line. It is also considering tolling on interstates in Indianapolis, though not on I-465 itself.
HNTB included a chart in its letter of interest showing annual revenue ranging from about $800 million to nearly $2 billion, depending on toll rates. The lower number would result from tolls of 4 cents per mile for cars and 10 cents for trucks; the upper limit would result from tolls of 8 cents per mile for cars and 20 cents for trucks.
The tolls would reduce vehicle-miles traveled on interstates by 10 percent at the lower toll rate, and nearly 16 percent at the higher rate, HNTB estimated.
INDOT is required to develop a strategic plan under the 2017 road-funding legislation that raised gas taxes, which have been the traditional way to pay for highway maintenance.
Stephanie Wilson, a spokeswoman for Gov. Eric Holcomb, said the governor hasn't made a final decision on tolling. He has previously said that he is open to the idea of tolling roadways in five or six years, which would fall near the end of his second term if he is re-elected.
HNTB's proposal said the state could be ready to begin tolling as early as 2021, but also included a 2023 date if planning and environmental work are done in phases.