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State police looking into suspected DUI stop of Gary official

ChelseWhittington. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media









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Chelsea Whittington. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media ptmet

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Updated: July 18, 2014 6:15AM



GARY — An Indiana State Police trooper stopped the city’s director of communication early Saturday on suspicion of drunken driving, but she was not arrested and state police are investigating the incident, according to state police.

About 1 a.m., Trooper Gary Runde stopped a car driven by Chelsea Stalling Whittington, 42, of Gary, in the 4700 block of Broadway, Whittington “immediately identified herself,” and Runde sought counsel from his supervisor, state police spokeswoman Sgt. Ann Wojas said.

Runde’s supervisor, Sgt. Dwayne Dillahunty, a Gary resident, asked for Gary patrol supervisors to respond to the scene, but Gary police did not interfere in the traffic stop, police said.

Gary officers at the scene said Runde claimed that he performed a “preliminary field sobriety test” that Whittington failed. But Wojas said she was told no such test was given, which would not have been the usual procedure in such a stop.

Wojas said an inquiry is underway to determine exactly what happened and why certain decisions were made.

Whittington acknowledged Monday that she was stopped by police but declined further comment, citing the city’s policy on personnel matters. She did say, however, that neither she nor her husband was driven home by police.

Whittington, a lifelong Gary resident, formerly was the spokeswoman for Gary Community School Corp., and Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson hired her to handle communications for the city.

In a statement Monday, Freeman-Wilson said she was aware of the traffic stop “that led to conduct by city personnel that is not consistent with the standards set by this administration. As a result of information revealed to date, I will handle this as a personnel issue. There will be an independent investigation and I will address this matter fully once the investigation has been completed.”

Police Chief Wade Ingram, who was made aware of the traffic stop shortly after it occurred, declined to comment.

Runde received recognition in 2011 when he aided a woman who was choking on food at a Crown Point restaurant.



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