On January 10, 2021, at approximately 1:28 PM, deputies were advised of a stolen vehicle being disabled in the area of US 20 and CR 700 East. The vehicle, a yellow box truck, was reported stolen earlier in the morning. As deputies responded to the area, they learned the truck was seen traveling westbound on Bootjack Road.
In the area of US 20 and CR 250 East, Deputy Wade Wallace observed a truck matching the description traveling westbound on US 20. He caught up to the truck near US 20 and CR 200 East, observed it drive left center, veer back across the lane and cross over the white fog line onto the rumble strips. Deputy Wallace confirmed the license plate affixed to the truck matched that of the reported stolen vehicle.
In the area of US 20 and Fail Road, Deputies Wallace and Corey Chavez initiated a traffic stop. The truck stopped on US 20 east of Fail Road. The occupants of the truck were removed, identified and secured.
The driver was identified as Blake J. BROWN (28 YOA) of South Bend. The passengers were identified as Erica L. TAWNEY (27 YOA) of Michigan City, Jacks R. KRAMER (23 YOA) of Michigan City and Summer L. ZITT (22 YOA) of Trail Creek.
As the traffic stop progressed, circumstances developed which caused a search of the truck to commence. During the search, drug paraphernalia and a significant amount of illegal drugs was located. BROWN, TAWNEY, KRAMER and ZITT were arrested and transported to the La Porte County Jail (LCJ).
BROWN was charged with Vehicle Theft (Level 6 Felony). He remains housed in the LCJ and is being held without bond.
TAWNEY was charged with Possession of a Hypodermic Syringe (Level 6 Felony) and Possession of Paraphernalia (Class C Misdemeanor). She remains housed in the LCJ and is being held without bond.
KRAMER was charged with Dealing in Methamphetamine (Level 2 Felony) and Possession of a Synthetic Drug/Lookalike Substance (Class A Misdemeanor). He remains housed in the LCJ and is being held on a $50,005.00 cash-only bond through Superior Court I.
ZITT was charged with Dealing in Methamphetamine (Level 2 Felony) and Possession of a Synthetic Drug/Lookalike Substance (Class A Misdemeanor). She remains housed in the LCJ and is being held without bond.
Assisting: Captain Dallas Smythe, Sergeant Andrew Hahn, Deputy Scott Lanoue, Deputy David Francis and Deputy Alex Pishkur
Arrests and criminal charges are mere accusations. Every person is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.