Indiana Man’s Rock Hampers Chicago-Bound Baby’s Emergency, Damages Helicopter


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La Porte, IN – An Indiana man’s reckless act put an infant’s life in further peril on September 1st.

Duane Lowery, 44, now faces serious charges after allegedly disabling a medical helicopter with a single throw of a rock, causing a cascade of delays and potentially life-threatening consequences for a baby with a skull fracture who was en route to the University of Chicago Hospital for critical care.

The distressing chain of events began when a Medflight helicopter from South Bend touched down on the concrete surface outside Franciscan Beacon Hospital, preparing to transport an infant with a life-threatening head injury to the University of Chicago Hospital. The clock was ticking, and every moment counted.

Lowery allegedly approached the landing zone on a bicycle, picked up a landscaping rock, and hurled it at the helicopter’s propellers. The result was disastrous – a dent in one of the critical propellers. 

Crew members onboard immediately heard a deafening crash and felt the helicopter shake, leading to the flight’s abrupt cancellation, that the injured infant and the medical personnel had to endure a one-hour wait for a backup helicopter to arrive. The child’s mother had reported a head injury resulting in a fractured skull and brain bleeding.

Lowery’s arrest was not without drama, as a firefighter pursued him immediately after the incident and detained him until law enforcement officers arrived. The medical helicopter remained grounded for several days until the damaged propeller could be replaced, incurring a hefty cost of approximately $100,000.

Duane Lowery now faces Level 6 Felony Criminal Mischief charges, Class A Misdemeanor Resisting Law Enforcement, and Class B Misdemeanor Public Intoxication, and a bond, of $755.


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