Trial to begin over double-fatal crash
MICHIGAN CITY – The former paramedic who allegedly drove drunk and killed two La Porte business owners last year will face a jury beginning Tuesday.
Tron Gorbonosenko, 41, is facing two felony counts each of operating while intoxicated with an ACE above 0.15 percent causing death, reckless homicide, and operating while intoxicated causing death.
Jury selection will begin Tuesday morning, and court officials anticipate the trial will wrap up on Friday.
If convicted, Gorbonosenko, who is free on $25,000 bond, could face up to 48 years in prison.
La Porte County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the fatal crash shortly after it happened on the night of Oct. 6, 2017, on U.S. 20 near Bootjack Road, just east of Rolling Prairie.
Donald and Angela Kaczmarek, owners of Packman’s Family Pizzeria, were pronounced dead at the scene.
Gorbonosenko was airlifted to a South Bend hospital, where his condition was listed as critical and his blood alcohol content recorded at 0.17 percent.
Crash scene investigators estimate Gorbonosenko, who was off duty from his job as a La Porte County paramedic, was traveling between 55 and 61 mph when his black Ford Mustang crossed the center line and struck the Kaczmareks’ Honda Odyssey.
Earlier this year, the Kaczmarek family’s attorney filed a tort claim alleging three La Porte City Police encountered a drunk Gorbonosenko outside a martial arts school in downtown La Porte around 90 minutes prior to the crash.
A call transcript shows a concerned bystander dialed 911 when he reportedly witnessed Gorbonosenko strike both a utility pole and a parked car with his Mustang while attempting to park.
The document shows police began arriving within minutes of the call. However, no report was generated to document the officers’ interaction with Gorbonosenko, who was allowed to leave the scene in his personal vehicle.
According to the tort claim, the Kaczmareks’ estate is owed damages of $700,000 as a result of the crash.
Among those named in the claim are La Porte Mayor Mark Krentz, La Porte City Attorney Nick Otis, La Porte County Attorney Doug Biege, the La Porte City Council and La Porte County Council.