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Police: Drunken man steals car, crashes

December 27, 2018

MICHIGAN CITY — An extremely intoxicated man stole a car, but didn’t get far before crashing Saturday night, then he tried to run but was quickly captured, and found to be wanted on multiple warrants, according to police.

Michigan City Police said 21-year-old Omar Huerta-Hernandez had a blood alcohol content of .339 percent, more than four times the legal limit, when he was arrested late Saturday.

He is facing a felony count of motor vehicle theft; and misdemeanor counts of leaving the scene of an accident, operating while intoxicated with endangerment, OWI over .15 BAC, and operating a vehicle without ever having a license, police said. He was also wanted on four outstanding warrants.

Police were called just after 11 p.m. for a crash at Benton and Arthur, where a man and woman were arguing. They found a 2017 Honda Civic that had been southbound on Benton, ran the stop sign at the T-intersection at Arthur, and went off the road on the south side of Arthur. The vehicle stuck in the grass, and the front end was heavily damaged.

A woman was outside the car crying and told police she had been drinking with her friend, Huerta-Hernandez, when he took off with the car though he was extremely intoxicated, according to a police report. She said she ran after the car, only to see it crash about a block away, then argued with Huerta-Hernandez until he ran away.

She then pointed to a man stumbling in the street near Benton and Garfield and said it was probably him. Officers found him walking unsteadily, then trying to climb the back steps of the same home where they had been drinking.

He was arrested and taken to the police station, and the arresting officer said he admitted taking the car and crashing. The officer said he smelled of alcoholic beverage, and said he was drunk and should be taken to jail.

He said he ran from the scene because of the warrants. The four warrants were for failure to appear on charges of theft, OWI, resisting arrest and an ABC violation.

He was swaying and unsteady when he attempted and failed the first two field sobriety tests, and told the officer he was drunk and “What did I expect from him?” He then quit the third test before it was complete.

He showed a BAC of .319 percent on a portable breath test, and .339 percent on a blood test at Franciscan Health Michigan City.

Huerta-Hernandez is being held without bond in the La Porte County Jail, with a court date pending in Superior Court 4 on the warrants.

—From staff reports

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