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Bizarre calls keep MC Police busy

July 6, 2018 GMT

MICHIGAN CITY – Three people who apparently started their Independence Day celebrations early ended up behind bars on Tuesday after Michigan City Police responded to a series of unusual calls.

Just before 10 a.m., police were called to the intersection of Barker Avenue and Dewey Street, where a woman was reportedly passed out behind the wheel of a car, according to a police report. Officers found a black BMW with Michigan plates stopped “just a foot or so away from hitting a Michigan City dump truck” in an area the Street Department had shut down for road work.

A city worker told police two people were passed out in the car and he’d taken the keys. A woman, later identified as 30-year-old Stephanie Beresford of Marshall, Michigan, was passed out in the driver’s seat and a man, later identified as Gilbert Torrez, was passed out in the front passenger seat, according to police.

Beresford’s “eyes were bloodshot and her pupils very small, police said. She told police she had not used drugs or alcohol but was just going home. Asked where she was, she said Kalamazoo, Michigan.

A city worker told police the dump truck was parked on Barker when the BMW approached at a high rate of speed and ran the stop sign at Dewey before the driver slammed on the brakes, stopping very close to the truck. Police said the back gate to the truck was open and down, and had the car hit it, both people could have been killed.

After failing field sobriety tests, Beresford was taken to Franciscan Health Michigan City for blood and urine tests. She was then taken to the police department, where a “green leafy substance” found in her purse tested negative for marijuana.

She was initially charged with misdemeanor possession of a look-alike substance, and when her urine test came back positive for cocaine, methadone, THC and opiates, she was also charged with misdemeanor OWI endangerment.

Just a few hours later, about 3:25 p.m., police were called to the Franklin Street Bridge, where the operator said two men standing near the bridge refused to get behind the guardrails so the bridge could be raised for a boat. The men were gone when officers arrived.

But 5 minutes later, police were called back and the operator said the same two men had jumped off the bridge about 20 feet down into Trail Creek. She then pointed out the men, who were climbing out of the water near the park.

Police spoke to 43-year-old Jamie Clark of Michigan City, and a 60-year-old man, and said Clark’s eyes were bloodshot; his speech slurred; and there was an odor of alcohol on his breath. He told police his name, but incorrectly spelled Clark.

When police told them jumping was dangerous – the water is only 6 feet deep – and it was a no-swim zone, the older man, “a self-proclaimed dive expert,” said he “knew it was dangerous and that they could have broken their necks,” police said.

He was told to leave the area. Clark was taken back to his vehicle, but had trouble keeping his balance and walking up the stairs, police said. He told police he “was not sure how much he had to drink” but “it may have been more than 12 beers,” police said.

He was given a breath test and had a blood-alcohol content of 0.332. He was charged with misdemeanor public intoxication endangering his own life, and cited for swimming in a no-swim zone.

In Tuesday’s third bizarre incident, police were called three times to reports of an intoxicated man, and after the third time, he was arrested.

About 6:30 p.m., police were called to 11th and York streets, where a man, identified as 36-year-old Gilbert Torrez of Michigan City, was reportedly sitting on the sidewalk, slumped over and unable to get up. The responding officer said his eyes were glassy and his speech slurred, and he initially had trouble walking.

He told police he’d had two beers and was heading to a nearby apartment complex. He refused medical treatment and was released.

About two hours later, police were called to the 1100 block of Cedar Street, where a man was reportedly passed out on the sidewalk. Officers woke him up and reported his speech was slurred, his eyes glossy and his balance poor.

Police said Torrez, when he was able to speak, told them he’d smoked smoked “Tunshe” – or synthetic marijuana. An EMS unit arrived and said he had no medical issue, so officers called his father, who drove away with him.

But about two hours later, police were called to the intersection of Elmer Street and Wrobel Avenue, where a witness said an intoxicated man had passed out in the roadway, and when awakened, had walked down an alley.

Police spotted Torrez near Cleveland and Wrobel standing in a yard “swaying back and forth” and looking “dazed.” An EMS unit was called and while he was at the ambulance, a woman approached and said Torrez’s father had dropped him off there.

He said he wanted a cigarette and went outside, but she said he was actually smoking synthetic marijuana, police said. Again cleared by EMTs, Torrez was arrested and charged with public intoxication endangering his own life.

Police did not say whether the Gilbert Torrez who was arrested was the same Gilbert Torrez who had been in the car with the Michigan woman earlier in the day.

—From staff reports