License plate violation leads to arrest of woman wanted on nationwide warrant


Left to right: Samantha J. Hellems, 28, from East Chicago and James A. Tobel, 38, from Hammond. (photos courtesy of the Indiana State Police)

HAMMOND, Ind. (WANE) – An East Chicago woman was arrested following a nationwide warrant after being in a vehicle with a man who was taken into custody for driving under the influence.

On Saturday at approximately 12:30 a.m., Trooper Rosillo was on patrol on Kennedy Ave. near U.S. 20 when he stopped an orange Dodge Nitro for a license plate violation. Indiana State Police report that during the traffic stop, the trooper made observations that resulted in an O.W.I. investigation. 

The driver, James A. Tobel, 38, from Hammond was administered a field sobriety tests as well as a certified chemical breath test. It is reported that Tobel failed that test registering .16%. The legal limit for intoxication in Indiana is .08%.

The passenger identified herself as Samantha J. Hellems, 28, from East Chicago. A check of her identification revealed a nationwide warrant for a probation violation from 2017, the report said. The original charge was for Burglary. 

Both individuals were taken into custody without incident.

Tobel is preliminarily charged with Operating While Intoxicated – Class A Misdemeanor and Driving While Suspended.

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