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Argument Blamed In Crash That Left Hammond Man, 21, Dead

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HAMMOND, Ind.(STMW) – An argument between two people led to Hammond man’s death and the driver’s injury when they were struck head-on by a university’s football team bus on eastbound Interstate 80-94 east of Indianapolis Blvd., police said.

According to a press release from the Indiana State Police, a 1996 Toyota Tercel, driven by Shawnna Popenhagen, 21, of Hammond, was in the right lane at about 8:40 p.m. Saturday when her passenger, Joshua Walberg, 21, of Hammond, grabbed the steering wheel during an argument. Popenhagen overcorrected the Toyota to the left, which spun the Tercel around into the right center lane until it was almost perpendicular to an oncoming charter bus. The bus was unable to avoid the Tercel and hit the driver’s front.

The bus held 39 people and included players, coaches and cheerleaders from the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, police said. They were coming home from a game in Joliet, Ill. No one on the bus was injured.

Popenhagen was taken to Advocate Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill., with incapacitating injuries. She was wearing a seat belt. Walberg, police said, was not wearing a seat belt and was pronounced dead at the scene by a deputy with the Lake County Coroner of blunt force trauma.

The right three lanes and the exit lane were closed for reconstruction of the crash, removal of the injured and deceased, towing of the vehicles and cleanup of the road. The far left lane remained opened.

Another charter bus arrived and took the passengers back to Fort Wayne.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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