Intoxicated driver’s friend injured in incident

Joshua Brazeal

An investigation into the circumstances surrounding an Illinois man who suffered serious injuries earlier this week in the Blue Chip parking garage led to the arrest of his friend for operating while intoxicated, the Michigan City Police Department reported Thursday.

Police said that at around 5 p.m. Tuesday the La Porte County Regional Dispatch Center received a 911 call regarding an accident on the upper level parking garage of Blue Chip Casino. The caller stated that someone had fallen and was on the ground unconscious.

MCPD Shift 2 personnel responded and found a 28-year-old male from Shorewood, Ill. unconscious, but breathing, on the cement parking garage. The victim was immediately tended to while Medflight was contacted and the victim was airlifted to South Bend Memorial Hospital for treatment.

Officer Garrett McDaniel began investigating the circumstances leading to this incident. The officer found that the victim had fallen off the back of a 2004 Chevrolet Avalanche as the vehicle was being driven around the parking garage at Blue Chip Casino. The driver of the vehicle, Joshua Brazeal, 32, also of Shorewood, Ill., showed signs of alcohol intoxication.

Brazeal was transported to the MCPD, where he refused to submit to a certified chemical breath test. A search warrant was then granted in order to obtain a blood sample and Brazeal was transported to Franciscan Hospital for a blood draw. Police said the results of the blood draw indicated that Brazeal had a blood alcohol content four times the legal limit. He was arrested and formally charged with two counts of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) causing serious bodily injury as a Level 5-Felony and one count of Reckless Driving as a misdemeanor.

Brazeal is being held at the La Porte County Jail on a $15,000 cash-only bond. His initial court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 15.

Police said the victim is still being treated for his injuries, and his official condition is unknown.

“The police department would ask anyone with information about this incident to contact Officer Garrett McDaniel at 219-874-3221. We would also like to remind the public that you can contact us via Facebook Messenger, through our crime tip hotline number of 219-873-1488, or you can also call the WeTip Hotline for General Crime (800) 78-CRIME and possibly receive a reward upon an arrest and conviction. All WeTip call information is sent directly to the LaPorte County Prosecutor’s Office. You can always request to remain anonymous,” police said.

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