(LAPORTE, IN) - Since 2020, hometownnewsnow.com has brought LaPorte County and the surrounding areas dependable news stories, podcasts, and weather reports. From 2020 to 2021, our site has seen an increase of over 100%. Our viewers consumed over 1,800,000 pages of news in 2021 alone. We are grateful for the continued support and trust from the HTNN readers to provide accurate, punctual, and accessible news stories. We hope to do even more in 2022.
The following are the most viewed news stories from each month in 2021.
JANUARY: Suspect Develops in Weekend Bar Shooting
La Porte Police investigated a shooting at a Lucky Bar in downtown LaPorte. Keith Davis, Jr. was eventually charged with a level 1 felony attempted murder for shooting Jeremy Simmons in the face.
FEBRUARY: Pedestrian Killed on U.S. 12
Michigan City Police responded to the 3500 block of East U.S. Highway 12. Officers attempted to revive 57-year-old Michigan City resident Raymond Gaston but were unsuccessful. The victim was struck by an eastbound vehicle while removing an animal carcass from the middle of the eastbound lanes. 20-year-old Parker DePalma of Michigan City was arrested for operating while intoxicated.
MARCH: Michigan City Mayor Asked to Resign Over Alleged Racial Comments
Protests happened after Michigan City Mayor Duane Parry left a voicemail with Michigan City Pastor James Lane saying, "They want a f____ing audience. You know, these black guys. They all want a f___ing audience." Parry didn't know the voicemail was recording. Instead of resigning, the Mayor pledged to take sensitivity training.
APRIL: U.S. 35 Closed by Fatal Crash
A stretch of U.S. 35 north of La Porte was closed because of a fatal motor vehicle accident. The crash occurred on a hilly and curvy stretch of the road and required extensive clean-up of the area afterward.
MAY: Phone Blamed for Chief Crashing Police Vehicle
Michigan City Police Chief Dion Campbell struck a light pole at Mariners Way and Cobblestone Boulevard on the city's west side south of U.S. 20. after reading a text message while driving. Damage to the vehicle was estimated at $2500.
JUNE: Charges in Water Park Disturbance
After making a scene at a church water park, Jessica Foster was charged in LaPorte Circuit Court with Disorderly Conduct, Battery, and Resisting Law Enforcement. After causing a scene in the water park, Foster asked to leave the park but refused then hopped a fence when police officers showed up. After a struggle with police to place her inside a squad car, Foster spit in the face of one of the officers.
JULY: Wild Chase at LaPorte Bakery
Police arrested a man at a factory in La Porte after a half-hour foot pursuit. Eventually, the police apprehended the man at Lewis Bakery on the city's east side. Chief Paul Brettin said the man at one point climbed on the roof and fell then went back inside the plant where he was apprehended. 20-year old Jerris Pezzuto of Knox was charged in La Porte Circuit Court with battery, resisting law enforcement, criminal mischief, and possession of methamphetamine.
AUGUST: Murder Charge in Husband's Grisly Death
A La Porte woman allegedly murdered her husband and dismembered his body. 34-year old Thessalonica Allen was charged with murder and other counts in La Porte Circuit Court after her husband, Randy Allen, was shot at the couple's home at Maple Tree Apartments on West 18th Street. Evidence obtained from the investigation shows the woman and her children, at the suspect's request, tried placing the body into the victim's vehicle but were unable. Instead, Allen allegedly used an ax to amputate his legs then put the body into a tote.
SEPTEMBER: Charges Filed Against Former Coach
A coach for LaPorte High School's Color and Winter Guard allegedly couldn't keep his hands off one of his 16-year old students. As a result, Lorenzo Medrano was charged in La Porte Circuit Court with child seduction. The victim told police Medrano touched her sexually outside of her clothing practically every day during the 2019 season.
OCTOBER: Details on Wednesday's Rollover Crash in Rolling Prairie
Emergency responders were called to respond to a rollover accident. A semi-truck collided with a silver SUV at U.S. 20 and CR 400 East. The westbound semi veered into the opposite lane following the collision while the SUV rolled onto its top.
NOVEMBER: La Porte on Menu of Restaurant Chain
The city of LaPorte announced that a national restaurant chain has plans on coming to La Porte. Officials described it as a nationally known "fast-casual restaurant." The restaurant plans to occupy a 12 unit strip mall-like facility that will be constructed sometime in 2022 along Pine Lake Avenue beside the La Porte Park and Recreation Office.
DECEMBER: Commissioner Named as Man in Snake Video
It wasn't exactly an early Christmas present, but video surveillance showed Santa Claus didn't leave the package that could be viewed as threatening. Instead, the man in the video is alleged to be La Porte County Commissioner Rich Mrozinski. La Porte County Auditor Tim Stabosz said he opened a large white envelope outside his office, and inside was a green rubber snake. Stabosz said the find was disturbing, and he took it as a threat from Mrozinski.