Chesterton man arrested in connection to fatal ambulance crash

La PORTE — The La Porte County Sheriff’s Department has announced the arrest of Jeffrey J. Bilyak, 47, of Chesterton, following an investigation by members of the Fatal Alcohol Crash Team (FACT) and Detective Bureau.

On Feb.15, at about 12:53 p.m. sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a crash on U.S. 421 just north of La Crosse.

Deputies at the scene determined that a red 2007 Toyota Tundra pickup truck driven by Bilyak was traveling northbound on U.S. 421. The crash investigation revealed that Bilyak passed a northbound semi-tractor trailer and while doing so, collided with an ambulance that was traveling southbound on U.S. 421.

At the time of the crash, the area was experiencing heavy fog. On Feb. 16 the investigating deputy received information that Heather A. Widing, 47, who was being transported as a patient inside the ambulance, had died as a result of the crash.

Members of FACT and Sheriff’s Department Detectives launched an immediate investigation. During the investigation, the Indiana Department of Toxicology determined that Bilyak had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) equivalent to .17 percent from a blood sample that was taken following the crash.

Detective James Lear, lead investigator, presented probable cause to the La Porte County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and La Porte Circuit Court from the findings of the investigation. As a result, a criminal arrest warrant was issued for Bilyak for the following charges: Operating A Vehicle While Intoxicated Causing Death (Level 4 Felony), Reckless Homicide (Level 5 Felony) and two counts of Operating A Vehicle While Intoxicated Resulting In Serious Bodily Injury (each count a Level 6 Felony).

Bilyak surrendered himself at the La Porte County Jail on Wednesday for the above listed charges on the arrest warrant. He remains lodged in the La Porte County Jail on a cash only bond of $20,205 dollars through La Porte Circuit Court.