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Man faces drunken driving charge in dirt bike crash that injured passenger

Man faces drunken driving charge in dirt bike crash that injured passenger


U.S. District Court Judge Philip P. Simon sentenced Roger Casillas, 29, to 92 months in prison after Casillas pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm as a felon. 

CROWN POINT — A Cedar Lake man was wanted Friday on charges alleging he was driving drunk when he crashed a dirt bike, causing his passenger to suffer a traumatic brain injury.

Christopher M. Murphy, 29, and his passenger were found lying on the ground about 9:55 p.m. Sept. 10 by Cedar Lake police responding to the crash in the 14400 block of Lauerman Street, according to court records.

Murphy was bleeding from the back of his head and attempting to wake his passenger, who was unresponsive and had a serious injury to the back of her head, documents state.

As police rendered aid to the woman, Murphy said, "We were coming from the bar and she just fell off, then I fell off," Lake Criminal Court records allege.

Murphy submitted to a breath test, which showed his blood alcohol content was 0.14, records state.

Murphy told police he was at a bar, went to his passenger's home to watch a sports game and took her for a ride afterward.

"All I remember is when I punched it into third, she flew off and then I fell off," Murphy allegedly told investigators. 

Murphy's blue Yamaha 125 dirt bike was an off-road vehicle, not legally registered or equipped to operate on roads, records said.

A crash investigator determined Murphy likely did a "wheelie," either on purpose or accidentally, before both he and his passenger fell off the bike.

When police spoke with the woman and her mother in December, the woman told them she did not remember anything about events leading up to the crash.

She was treated in the intensive care unit of a Chicago hospital for 30 days and had a part of her skull removed, which had not yet been replaced.

Homicides increased and Lake and LaPorte counties last year, but decreased in Porter County.

She was required to wear a protective helmet, and told police she needed therapy to learn to eat and walk again, records state.

Murphy is facing four felony counts, including level 4 felony causing catastrophic injury when operating a vehicle while intoxicated. 

If convicted of a level 4 felony, he could face two to 12 years in prison.

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