Valpo man arrested, Illinois trucker dies in I-94 crash
By Carole Carlson firstname.lastname@example.org April 25, 2013 10:18AM
LaPorte County-Indiana State Police responded to a three vehicle crash, involving two semis, which closed I-94 for approximately two hours, and killed one of the semi drivers early Thursday April 25, 2013. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 25, 2013 11:09AM
MICHIGAN CITY — A trucker from Olympia Fields, Ill., died early Thursday after a drunken driver from Valparaiso stopped his car in the middle of a lane on Interstate 94.
State police said Steven Lunn, 52, was extricated from his 2006 Freightliner and pronounced dead at the scene from massive trauma by the LaPorte County coroner.
The incident unfolded when trucker George A. Leeth St., 37, of Hammond called 911 to report a motorist driving erratically off and onto the road with speeds varying from 25 to 60 mph in the eastbound lanes.
The 2006 Audi, driven by Howard B. Gutenstein, 47, of Valparaiso, stopped in the middle of the right lane, about 2-1/2 miles west of the Indiana-Michigan state line. Police said Gutenstein got out of his vehicle and began to walk around.
Leeth activated his four-way emergency hazard lights and stopped behind the Audi. Leeth left his truck and told Gutenstein to get back inside his car.
As Leeth got back into his truck, Lunn’s truck struck his box trailer, pushing it into the rear of the Audi.
Lunn’s tanker truck, which contained ethanol, swerved to the right to avoid Leeth’s truck. The impact with Leeth’s trailer caused Lunn’s cab to come to rest in the right lane with the tanker on the outer shoulder, police said. Lunn’s truck is owned by Langer Transport of New Jersey.
Leeth was taken to Saint Anthony Health Michigan City for non-life threatening injuries. Leeth’s truck is owned by Fore Transportation out of Harvey, Ill., and it was loaded with perishable food. No load was lost.
Gutenstein was not injured. and police said he had a blood alcohol content of 0.13 percent. Gutenstein was taken to LaPorte County Jail where he was charged with operating while intoxicated causing death, a Class C felony and endangering, a Class A misdemeanor.
Traffic was diverted off I-94 at Indiana 421 until 4 a.m. when the left lane reopened; all lanes re-opened at 7 a.m.