DWI crash suspect drops anchor at state police lot
Courtesy of Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
After a night of drinking and apparently an auto accident, Michael DeWitt just wanted a bed and somewhere to park his SUV.
So he drove out past the intersection of U.S. 24 and Interstate 69, turned onto Ellison Road and headed toward the hotels in the area.
He parked the Hummer H3 just after 1:30 a.m. Thursday and got out to look at the passenger side. He was sure somebody had pulled out in front of him. A woman in the sport utility vehicle crawled across the console and clambered out the driver’s side door.
A concerned onlooker asked DeWitt whether he needed any help.
He declined, saying he was going around front to get a room.
And a room he received. Well, kind of.
DeWitt had pulled not into a hotel lot, but a restricted parking lot behind the Indiana State Police post, just moments after police believe he was involved in a hit-and-run crash.
DeWitt landed in the Allen County Jail on Thursday, with a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit, police said.
Dispatchers saw him drive the banged-up Hummer, leaking fluids, past two “Restricted” signs, into the back parking lot of the state police post. Thinking it may have been an undercover officer, Trooper Jami Hotchkiss asked DeWitt what happened. He said “somebody hit me and took off,” police said.
About that time, Fort Wayne police took a call of a hit-skip crash at U.S. 24 and Interstate 69, just a block away from the state police post.
When officers questioned DeWitt – with his bloodshot eyes, unsteady balance and slurred speech – he told them he had had too much vodka to drink.
He told police he didn’t know what happened but knew he was driving and someone pulled out in front of him.
Police pointed out that the Holiday Inn Express is directly next door to the post.
“Although the Indiana State Police Post is not Motel 6, we will still leave the light on for you,” state police spokesman Sgt. Rodger Popplewell said.
DeWitt is charged with misdemeanor counts of driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident that damaged property. The woman in the Hummer was not charged.