VALPARAISO — A 25-year-old Valparaiso man told police he fell asleep shortly before his southbound vehicle plunged off Ind. 49 on Sunday morning and flew about 155 feet over the four lanes of LaPorte Avenue below.
The 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee struck nose first before continuing up the embankment and rolling back down where it landed upside down, according to police.
The driver, Ilija Labovic, of the 300 block of Devon Road, was transported to Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in Gary where he received care for five broken ribs, head lacerations, a possible concussion and internal injuries, police said.
Labovic reportedly told police he had consumed alcoholic beverages the night before, but had stopped drinking at 9 p.m. Various emergency officials reported they did not smell alcohol on his breath following the crash, but are waiting on toxicology reports from the hospital.
Labovic, who was reportedly heading home at the time of the crash, was not cited or charged.
Labovic said the last thing he remembers before the 8:19 a.m. crash is being in the median of the highway and leaving the ground, according to police. He was found lying in a space underneath the vehicle.
A witness told police he saw the vehicle "fly" under the bridge.
Police estimated it is a 40-foot drop from the highway bridge to LaPorte Avenue below.