82-year-old driver charged with OWI in church bus crash

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A church bus sits in the area between guardrails late Monday on the Indiana Toll Road, just before the Cline Avenue exit. The driver was intoxicated and drove off the road, police said.

HAMMOND — An 82-year-old was slurring his speech and had bloodshot eyes the night he crashed a church bus with 47 children and adults on board, sending five to the hospital, police said.

Wilton B. Carr, of Gary, was charged Wednesday with three felony counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated/endangering a person younger than 18 and one misdemeanor count each of operating a vehicle while intoxicated/endangering a person and operating a vehicle while intoxicated, according to court records. 

Carr also was charged with an OWI with bodily injury, a Level 6 felony, the Lake County Sheriff’s Department confirmed. 

Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter said he has requested an additional investigation from the Indiana State Police. He said Carr could face more charges based on the number of victims and their injuries.

Carr was driving a bus owned by Jesus Saves Missionary Baptist Church in Gary back to Indiana from a trip to the United Center in Chicago, police said.

Carr was slurring his speech, had a strong odor of alcohol, and his eyes were watery and bloodshot, according to a police report. Carr was taken to St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago, where test results showed he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.094. 

At 10:37 p.m. Monday, Carr drove straight off the road on eastbound I-90 just before the Cline Avenue exit and into a rocky area between two guardrails, police said.PauseCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time0:00Stream TypeLIVELoaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00Fullscreen00:00Mute

The bus hit a gravel and dirt embankment, causing its front tires to leave the ground, police said. The impact caused passengers to be thrown from their seats.

A 49-year-old and four children ranging in age from 10 to 14 were taken to local hospitals for leg injuries and head and neck pain, police said. Others were checked at the scene and released.

Carr was taken to a local hospital for an alcohol test, which he failed, police said.

After the crash, he was taken to the Lake County Jail. https://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/year-old-gary-driver-charged-with-owi-in-church-bus/article_e3c5e80a-3858-588d-bdcf-ce0a062dda26.html#1

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