Anthony Norris charged with OWI in a fatal pileup on Indiana Toll Road
HAMMOND- Indiana State Police report that on Feb. 2, 2020, at approximately 2:03 a.m., Trooper Dennis Griffin was dispatched to a single-vehicle crash on I-80/94 eastbound lanes at the 2.2 mile-marker. The vehicle, a white 2019 Chevrolet Camaro, had struck the impact attenuator which resulted in two lanes being blocked. Through Trooper Griffin’s investigation, he had reason to believe that the driver of the vehicle was impaired via alcoholic beverages.
The driver, Anthony Van Norris, 35 years of age from Merrillville, IN, refused to submit to a chemical test and was taken into custody. At approximately 2:48 a.m., a secondary crash occurred in the back-up on I-80/94 eastbound at the 2.0 mile-marker. Assistance was requested from the Indiana State Police Toll Road District as well as from the Hammond Police Department.
Police say that Norris was transported to Southlake Methodist by Trooper Benjamin Beers where a search warrant was obtained and a blood draw was completed. Toxicology results are pending. Norris was transported to the Lake County Jail and a preliminary charge of O.W.I. Refusal- Class A Misdemeanor is being submitted to the Lake County Prosecutor.
Trooper Griffin arrived at the scene of the second crash and observed three vehicles, a semi, and two passenger vehicles. One of the vehicles, a white 1995 Lincoln was engulfed in flames.
Preliminary investigation by Trooper Griffin shows that a 2013 Toyota Highlander, driven by Shenay Neal, 44, from Crown Point, IN was traveling in the far left lane at a high rate of speed.
The Toyota rear-ended the Lincoln, causing the Lincoln to spin to the left lane where it burst into flames. The Toyota then continued straight and rear-ended a second vehicle which was a 2018 Utility semi-trailer being pulled by a 2019 International tractor.
The semi is operated by TTS Logistics, LLC of Mount Pleasant, MI. The truck was being driven by Lance A. Forbus, 32 from Dallas, TX. The drivers of the Highlander and International were both transported for treatment of minor injuries. Attempts were made to remove the driver of the Lincoln, however, they were unsuccessful due to the fire. The driver of the Lincoln was declared deceased at the scene by the Lake County Coroner. The name of the deceased is pending positive identification by the Lake County Coroner.
Upon completion, a copy of the investigation will be forwarded to the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
As this fatal crash was being investigated, a third crash took place in the backup at the 0.7 mile- marker which involved 7 vehicles. None of those drivers or passengers were injured, however, there was also lane blockage which resulted in an additional backup.
A fourth crash took place in the back-up at the 0.1 mile-marker. That crash involved a semi and passenger vehicle and resulted in minor injuries and lane blockage as well.
Assisting at the scene was the Lake County Coroner’s Office, Hammond Fire/EMS, Hammond Police Department, Indiana State Police Toll Road, and Bert’s Towing.
Dennis Griffin, 38 is originally from Saint Anne, Illinois, where he graduated from Saint Anne High School. He earned an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from South University in Savannah, Georgia. He previously worked at the Department of Correction in Michigan City and Jasper County Sheriff’s Department as a correctional officer. He coached soccer at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer before its closure. Griffin resides in Jasper County with his family.