Knox Man Charged after Driving under the Influence

John Lenig

A Knox man was arrested Sunday, January 29th after he reportedly hit a patch of ice and hit a tree while driving under the influence.

John Lenig told a Starke County Sheriff’s Department officer that he hit a patch of ice on Toto Road near State Road 23 and he hit a tree. After the vehicle hit the tree, it burst into flames. Josh Workman said that he drove upon the accident and saw that the car had hit the tree and was on fire. He saw Lenig out of the car and a female passenger, Amber Sheperd, still trapped in the car. Workman removed her from the wreckage and took her to IU Health Starke Hospital. She was later airlifted to a South Bend hospital for treatment of a broken neck and an internal injury.

Police asked Workman why he didn’t call for help at the scene and he said he didn’t have a phone. Workman had also taken Lenig with him to the hospital and police questioned him there. The officer noticed that he was unsteady on his feet and detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath. Lenig was then given field sobriety tests and failed. Lenig then agreed to a blood draw and after he was medically cleared, he was taken to the Starke County Jail.

The Starke County Prosecutor’s Office has charged Lenig with Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated Causing Bodily Injury. He has bonded out of the Starke County Jail.