Police: Ind. cop rescues intoxicated driver moments before train hits vehicle

The driver, who's car had become stuck on the tracks, was pulled out of the way just in time


Bob Kasarda
The Times, Munster, Ind.

VALPARAISO, Ind. — A Valparaiso police officer rescued an intoxicated driver Monday just moments before a train struck his vehicle, which was stuck on the railroad tracks in the area of Nickel Plate and Axe avenues, according to the local department.

The rescue comes less than a week after a Porter County police officer discovered another alleged intoxicated driver with his vehicle stuck on railroad tracks near Ind. 2 and Evans Ave. just east of Valparaiso.

Patrolman Logan Redmon helped get a man suspected of DUI off the train tracks moments before a train hit the man's vehicle.
Patrolman Logan Redmon helped get a man suspected of DUI off the train tracks moments before a train hit the man's vehicle. (Photo/Valparaiso Police Department)

Monday's incident began around 1 a.m. when Valparaiso Patrolman Logan Redmon was called out in response to the report of the stuck vehicle, police said.

He spotted the vehicle about 1,000 feet west of the crossing and saw that the driver was still inside with an eastbound train closing in and blowing its horn, police said.

Redmon jumped into action and helped the driver, later identified as 36-year-old Matthew Helsel of Kouts, out of his vehicle and away from the tracks before the train struck the empty vehicle, according to police.

No injuries were reported.

Helsel exhibited signs of intoxication and admitted to drinking alcohol prior to the incident, police said.

He was arrested and faces several counts of intoxicated driving, according to a jail report.

Shortly before midnight Thursday, a Porter County police officer found 49-year-old Scott Miller of Valparaiso attempting to dislodge the right side tires of his 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix from the tracks east of Valparaiso. The vehicle was facing westbound on the tracks and was about 10 feet off of Ind. 2, police said.

Miller, who smelled of alcohol, was ordered off the tracks and police contacted the railroad company and had all trains temporarily stopped, according to the incident report.

Miller said he consumed four whiskey drinks and was later found to have a blood alcohol count of more than twice the legal driving limit, police said. He faces three misdemeanor counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

©2020 The Times (Munster, Ind.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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