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Thursday September 20, 2018

dentist charged in death arraigned

Friday, April 13, 2018 18:58 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

A dentist accused of killing an ambulance patient from Portage in a head-on collision he caused while driving impaired wants his bond lowered.

Jeffrey Bilyak, 46, of Chesterton appeared on video in LaPorte Circuit Court for his initial hearing Friday.

He was in the LaPorte County Jail when Judge Tom Alevizos scheduled a hearing for May 4 to decide whether to reduce his $20,000 bail.

Alevizos also ordered a background check to look over before ruling on the request.

Bilyak turned himself in Wednesday on arrest warrants for level 4 felony operating while intoxicated causing death; level 5 felony reckless homicide and two counts of operating while intoxicated causing serious bodily injury.

Heather Widing, 47, died a day after the February 15 crash on U.S 421 near LaCrosse.

She was heading to a hospital in Indianapolis in the back of an ambulance hit by an oncoming Bilyak trying to pass in very dense fog in a no-passing zone, according to court documents.

Police said a bottle suspected to contain vodka rolled out of his pick-up truck as firefighters began tending to his injuries.

It's alleged Bilyak had a .173-percent blood alcohol level.

He and two medics, Jacob Levin, 32, of Portage and Eric Gunia, 28, of Valparaiso were all seriously injured, police said.

Bilyak has a dental practice in North Judson and used to practice in Hobart.

Warrants were issued for his arrest March 22.

LaPorte County Police Capt. Derek Allen said he was not able to disclose why it took so long to place him into custody.

However, he said authorities were in regular contact with his attorney.

Bilyak is represented by Andrew Bennett whose practice is in Valparaiso.

''We knew where he was and he knew he had a warrant for his arrest,'' Allen said.

The ambulance was owned by inHealth, a Valparaiso-based paramedic service company.
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