On March 9, 2021 at 7:00 a.m., Master Trooper Lawrence McFarrin observed a white Chevrolet Impala traveling westbound on I-94 near the 26 mile-marker (Chesterton exit). Tpr. McFarrin subsequently paced the vehicle traveling nearly 125 mph as it was weaving in and out of traffic. As a traffic stop was initiated near the 24 mile-marker, the driver attempted to switch positions with the front seat passenger. During this dangerous action, the vehicle struck the guardrail on the north side of the road. The driver was identified as Johnell C. Higgins, 36, from Detroit, Michigan. Mr. Higgins showed signs of impairment, failed some of the field sobriety tests, and refused to complete other field sobriety tests. Senior Trooper Anthony Potesta and Probationary Trooper Ryan Parent arrived and conducted an Operating While Intoxicated investigation. Mr. Higgins was transported to the Porter Police Department where he physically resisted officers. After he refused the certified chemical test (breath test) for intoxication, troopers requested and were later granted a search warrant to obtain Mr. Higgins’ blood. During transport to Franciscan Emergency Room in Chesterton for execution of the search warrant, the suspect continued to resist and broke Trooper Parent’s sunglasses. Mr. Higgins continued to fight with officers, hospital security, and emergency room staff during the attempted blood draw. During the altercation, Mr. Higgins struck Trooper Parent on the leg. The trooper also sustained multiple cuts on his hands and a wall was damaged in an exam room. After finally being restrained, the search warrant was completed. Results of that blood draw are pending. Mr. Higgins was eventually transported to Porter County Jail for booking. The passenger was not charged with a crime.
Mr. Higgins is preliminarily charged with the following:
- Battery on Law Enforcement- Level 6 Felony
- Resisting Law Enforcement- Class A Misdemeanor
- Disorderly Conduct- Class B Misdemeanor
- Operating While Intoxicated, BAC above .15%- Class A Misdemeanor
- Operating While Intoxicated, Endangering- Class A Misdemeanor
- Operating While Intoxicated- Class C Misdemeanor
All persons named in this release are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court. All charges mentioned are merely accusations, actual charges will be determined by the Porter County Prosecutor’s Office.