AP NEWS

Trial date set in crash that killed LP couple

August 6, 2018

MICHIGAN CITY — A former paramedic charged with killing two local business owners in a drunken driving accident last year told a judge Thursday that he is ready to face a jury.

Tron Gorbonosenko is charged with four felonies stemming from the deaths of Donald and Angela Kaczmarek: two felony counts of operating while intoxicated with an alcohol content equivalent of 0.15 percent or higher causing death; and two felony counts of reckless homicide.

The trial is scheduled to start August 20. If convicted of all counts, Gorbonosenko faces up to 36 years in prison.

Gorbonosenko was off-duty from his job as a La Porte County paramedic when he drove his black Ford Mustang across the center line of U.S. 20 near Bootjack Road just east of Rolling Prairie on Oct. 6. The Mustang collided with an oncoming vehicle, killing the occupants on impact, police said at the time.

Investigators believe Gorbonosenko was traveling between 55 and 61 mph when he struck the vehicle driven by the Kaczmareks, who owned Packman’s Family Pizzeria in La Porte.

Gorbonosenko was critically injured in the crash, and was airlifted to a South Bend hospital, where his blood alcohol content was determined to have been 0.17 percent.

A tort claim notice filed by the Kaczmarek family attorney earlier this year alleges three La Porte Police officers failed to perform their statutory and administrative duties approximately 90 minutes before the fatal accident. The tort claim alleges they encountered an apparently intoxicated Gorbonosenko outside a martial arts school in downtown La Porte.

Police were called after a man reportedly watched Gorbonosenko hit both a parked car and a utility pole with his vehicle before getting out of the vehicle and going inside the school.

The 911 dispatch transcript shows the officers responded within minutes of the call. However, no police report was generated to document the incident, and Gorbonosenko was allowed to leave in his Mustang.

The tort claim says the victims’ estate is owed $700,000 in damages as a result of the fatal crash.

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 are named in the claim, among others.

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