AP NEWS

Cyclist badly hurt in OWI crash

April 10, 2019

MICHIGAN CITY – A man free on bond for an operating while intoxicated charge was arrested again after crashing his truck into a motorcycle Monday afternoon in what authorities allege was another case of drunken driving.

Luke Patrick Hamlin, 37, is being held without bond at the La Porte County Jail on felony charges of OWI resulting in serious bodily injury and OWI, according to the La Porte County Sheriff’s office.

The biker he allegedly hit with his GMC SUV – 33-year-old Jessica Yeakey of Michigan City – was airlifted from Franciscan Health Michigan City to South Bend Memorial Hospital in critical condition.

Sheriff’s Department Capt. Derek Allen said deputies were dispatched to the crash site in the 6800 West block of CR-450W around 5:12 p.m. Monday. No further details were released pending completion of police reports.

Ken Cook was inside his home when he heard the crash.

“My wife yelled, ‘Oh my God, Luke just hit somebody’,” Cook said Tuesday via telephone interview.

He and his wife, Kristina, ran outside to tend to the woman on the ground while one of their daughters called 911.

Ken Cook said he asked the motorcyclist her name and whether she was OK, but she was unresponsive and “staring into space.”

Kristina Cook held Yeakey’s hand as they waited for first responders.

The Trail Creek Police and sheriff’s departments, an ambulance and firetruck arrived within minutes.

“That blew my mind how fast the first responders were there,” he said. “Within five minutes everyone was there and working on her.”

He recalled Yeakey had been wearing her helmet, which appeared to have been broken in the collision.

And he said the woman screamed in pain as paramedics placed her onto a board and into the ambulance.

“The hit was hard – it broke the tie rod off [Hamlin’s] truck,” Ken Cook said. “And it was loud when they hit – neighbors down the road said they heard it … Nobody saw it, just heard it.”

The Cooks watched as their neighbor, Hamlin, was subjected to various field sobriety tests, and ultimately taken from the scene in handcuffs.

At the time of his arrest Monday, Hamlin was free on bond for charges filed in August 2018 of felony OWI with a prior conviction, misdemeanor OWI with an alcohol content of 0.15 percent or more, and infractions including exceeding the maximum speed limit of 55 miles per hour, and driving with an open alcoholic beverage in his vehicle.

He appeared Tuesday in Superior Court I, where bond was denied.