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Lake County, Indiana - October 19, 2013

Police say a traveler died Saturday during an accident with a bus in the Hammond area.

According to troopers with the Indiana State Police, an unidentified driver was behind the wheel of a tour bus as it traveled east along Interstate 94 (Interstate 80/Indiana Toll Road). As the driver approached Indianapolis Boulevard, during the evening hours, it made contact with a white compact car.

Paramedics responded to the scene, but were unable to save one person. None of those on board the bus was hurt.

The National Safety Council reports that traffic fatalities increased 5 percent in 2012. A recent study revealed 36,200 traffic deaths last year, up from 34,600 in 2011, the first increase in seven years.

UPDATE: The deceased victim has been identified as Hammond resident Joshua Walberg, 21. Authorities report that Mr. Walberg was a passenger in a Toyota operated by 21-year-old Hammond resident Shawnna Popenhagen when the two became engaged in a disagreement.

Mr. Walberg allegedly grabbed the steering wheel and Ms. Popenhagen turned sharply to correct the vehicle’s course. They crossed into the path of a bus, operated by 64-year-old Upland resident William Johnson on behalf of the University of Saint Francis, and the two vehicles collided.

Mr. Walberg reportedly died on scene. Ms. Popenhagen, meanwhile, was taken to Oak Lawn, Illinois’s Advocate Christ Medical Center for treatment of serious injuries.

If you would like an official copy of the police report, request a copy with this form.

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