Lake County Law and Order
January 18, 2012 11:10PM
Updated: January 18, 2012 11:10PM
Illinois man admits to hit-and-run
An Evergreen Park, Ill., man has been charged in Lake Superior Court in connection with a New Year’s Day hit-and-run crash that severely injured a pedestrian.
Edward Arnold Nash Jr., 40, was charged with failure to stop after an accident resulting in serious bodily injury in a crash that left pedestrian Mitchell Thomas Heeringa with serious brain injuries and other injuries that will require further surgery. Merrillville Police were called at about 2 a.m. Jan. 1 and found Heeringa in the middle of the westbound lanes of 80th Place at Broadway in a pool of blood.
On Jan. 11, police tracked down Nash in the 800 block of South Burnham Avenue in Chicago and saw a 2003 Chevrolet Ventura van with damage to the hood. Nash initially told police the van was damaged after it was stolen and that he’d just gotten it out of the impound lot. But when asked if he was in Indiana on New Year’s Day, Nash walked toward Merrillville police Detective James Lilley, put his arm around his shoulder and said, “I hit him.”
Nash told Lilley he was leaving the Radisson Hotel and rounded a bend in the road when he saw a man step into the roadway in front of him. Nash said he was scared and did not stop, the probable cause affidavit states.
Court records indicate Heeringa underwent brain surgery. He also suffered injuries to vertebrae in his neck that will require surgery, and injuries to his upper right arm, elbow, both hands and right calf.
Homeless woman threatened police
A former Merrillville woman on probation for criminal recklessness has been charged in Lake Superior Court with intimidation, resisting law enforcement and disorderly conduct.
Justine Elizabeth Upchurch, 19, who in July was placed on probation for two years, was arrested Jan. 16 after she asked police for an escort to get her child back from the child’s father in the 7400 block of Grant Street, Merrillville. Upchurch told officers she wanted to bring the girl with her to a homeless shelter in Gary where she is staying, but officers felt that absent official court documents clarifying custody of the child, the more stable environment was the father’s residence.
Upchurch became upset at the officer’s decision, began yelling and refused to quiet down. When the homeowner told police he wanted Upchurch to leave, police instructed her to do so, but she ignored them and continued yelling, eventually threatening to “pop some shots into you with my gun” and shouting profanities, the probable cause affidavit states.
In her earlier case, Upchurch admitted she threw a heavy glass candleholder at her father on Nov. 11, 2010, as he slept on the couch in the family home. Lake Superior Court Judge Salvador Vasquez ordered Upchurch to undergo a psychological evaluation and complete treatment and attempt to obtain her GED at her July 6 sentencing hearing. She has already had one petition to revoke her probation, which resulted in a 126-day incarceration. A second petition to revoke is set for hearing Jan. 24.
Breaking mom’s nose means prison
Lake Superior Court Judge Diane Ross Boswell sentenced a Schererville man to four years for an attack on his 71-year-old mother that left her with a broken nose.
Scott Barney, 46, admitted he struck his mother between April 6 and April 7 at the family home in Cedar Lake after becoming angry with her.
Barney told the judge his mother is now in a nursing home and being properly cared for and expressed remorse for the incident.
“I committed this crime in direct violation of the peace and dignity of the state of Indiana,” he said.
Defense attorney Samuel Vazanellis noted his client has two prior misdemeanor convictions. Barney said he had been drinking as a way to deal with the pressures at home.
Deputy prosecutor Michael Toth asked Boswell to impose a three-year prison sentence, followed by one year on probation.
The plea agreement outlined a maximum four-year sentence.