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Jeep flips on Juniper, Douglas

Teresa Fralish | Monday, January 17, 2005

A one-car accident involving two Notre Dame juniors, one who police said was driving under the influence, occurred at the intersection of Douglas Road and Juniper Road around 4 a.m. Sunday.

According to Captain John Gruszynski of the St. Joseph County Police, 20-year old Notre Dame junior Helios MacNaught, the driver of the red Jeep Cherokee, and his passenger, another male Notre Dame junior whose name and age were not released, flipped the vehicle after hitting the median strip in the middle of Douglas. Neither student was seriously injured, Gruszynski said.

The Observer was unable to contact MacNaught.

The passenger was interviewed at the scene by police and picked up by friends shortly after with no significant injuries, Gruszynski said. He added police did not administer a blood alcohol content test because the passenger did not appear intoxicated.

According to Gruszynski, MacNaught was legally intoxicated, with a blood alcohol content between 0.15 and 0.2. In the state of Indiana, the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers over 21 years of age is .08.

Gruszynski added that MacNaught also probably exceeded the 30-mile per hour speed limit while driving on Juniper – another factor that likely caused the accident.

After police completed the BAC test, MacNaught was treated for minor scrapes and abrasions at St. Joseph Medical Center around 5 a.m. and then transported to the St. Joseph County Jail at about 6:30 a.m., Gruszynski said.

The student was booked at the jail for DUI charges and released on $500 bond at 4:20 p.m. Sunday, St. Joseph County Jail Deputy Sean Patema said.

Gruszynski said the car, heavily damaged on the top and front, not drivable and towed from the scene, landed just west of the Douglas median. Police did not impound the car for investigation.

The students were headed south on Juniper and possibly intended to turn right at the stoplight, said Gruszynski. He said the passenger told him MacNaught was returning to campus. Both students were wearing seatbelts.

“That probably saved their lives,” Gruszynski said.

Gruszynski said there was little traffic on Juniper and Douglas at the time of the accident. An ambulance and fire truck were called to the accident, although neither was needed, he said.

Notre Dame Security/Police director Rex Rakow said NDSP officers assisted with traffic control, and the department would receive a copy of the accident report within the next few days. NDSP will then forward information about MacNaught’s arrest to the Office of Residence Life, Rakow said.

Larissa ZavalaMejia, a friend of the two students involved in the crash, said she walked by shortly after the accident and stopped when she recognized one of the students involved.

“The car was pretty beat up,” ZavalaMeija said.