Suit Claims Indiana City Police Let Alleged Drunk Driver Go 90 Minutes Before Crash That Killed Couple
The officers allegedly did not perform any sobriety tests of Tron Gorbonosenko even after he hit a parked car, the tort states
The families of an Indiana couple killed by an alleged drunk driver say police spoke to the suspect 90 minutes before the fatal accident — but that they allowed him to drive anyway, according to a tort claim filed against the local police department obtained by PEOPLE.
On Oct. 6, Donald and Angela Kaczmarek were killed after Tron Gorbonosenko allegedly drove his Ford Mustang into the couple’s car, instantly killing them, according to the South Bend Tribune.
Gorbonosenko has been charged with two felony counts of operating a motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration equivalent of more than 0.15 percent, and two Level 5 felony counts of reckless homicide, the Tribune reports.
Now, the couple’s family alleges in the claim that about 90 minutes before the crash, La Porte police responded to a 911 call regarding Gorbonosenko’s driving and had the opportunity to impound his car.
According to the claim, the officers failed to perform their duties because they knew Gorbonosenko, who works for La Porte County.
According to an eyewitness, while driving, Gorbonosenko allegedly missed his turn and drove up onto a sidewalk before turning into a nearby parking lot, where he struck a parked car so hard it moved. When Gorbonosenko put his car into reverse, he allegedly hit a telephone pole.
Gorbonosenko allegedly got out of the vehicle and “staggered” into a nearby martial arts school. The witness, who was with a friend, went over to Gorbonosenko’s Mustang and inspected the car, according to the claim. He found grass stuck to the bumper and all down the passenger side, leading him to believe that Gorbonosenko had allegedly driven off the road and into a ditch at one point.
When he walked over to Gorbonosenko, he allegedly smelled alcohol on Gorbonosenko’s breath. At that point, the witness said he called 911.
A La Porte police report from that night confirms the vehicle hit the light post and the parked car and that three police officers responded to the scene.
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According to the witness, two La Porte police officers allegedly approached Gorbonosenko and spoke to him, but they did not perform any sobriety tests or search his vehicle, which according to the claim was later found with empty alcohol bottles inside.
Subsequently, the witness alleged that the officers let him drive.
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The claim estimates the couple’s estates are owed $700,000 in damages; it was sent to nine recipients, including the La Porte City Attorney, and County Council.
PEOPLE’s calls to the La Porte Police Department were not answered Thursday. Messages for La Porte City Attorney Nick Otis and La Porte County Council Attorney Douglas L. Biege were not immediately returned as of press time.
La Porte Police Chief Tom Owens declined to comment when questioned by the La Porte County Herald Argus, stating he was unaware of the allegations.
Gorbonosenko faces up to 36 years behind bars if convicted, according to the Herald Argus. He is currently out on a $25,000 cash bond, the paper reports.
His attorney could not be reached by PEOPLE Thursday.