LAKE FREEMAN — A Chesterton, Ind., couple faces a bevy of charges after both were allegedly involved in an altercation Saturday with law enforcement on Lake Freeman.
Peter Lassale, 46, faces charges a misdemeanor charge of boating while intoxicated and felony charges of resisting law enforcement with a vehicle, and intimidation. His wife and passenger, Renata LaSalle, 36, faces misdemeanor charges of boating while intoxicated and resisting law enforcement, and a felony charge of battery on law enforcement.
DNR officials said the variant spelling of the last names is accurate.
It all started Saturday when DNR officials said Conservation Officer Kyle Whitlow saw a personal watercraft being operated on Lake Freeman without the required registration numbers properly displayed.
When Whitlow attempted to stop the watercraft, the operator — Peter Lasalle — allegedly struck Whitlow’s watercraft. No one was reported injured.
DNR officials said once stopped, Lasalle allegedly became uncooperative, started his watercraft and fled toward the shore at a high rate of speed. Once near shore, he allegedly jumped from his watercraft and swam to a nearby pier.
DNR officials said Whitlow pursued Lasalle to a residence in the 700 block of Orchard Court, Monticello, which was later determined to be Lasalle’s lake house.
Conservation Officer Jarred Coffing and Carroll County Sheriff’s Detective Tony Liggett, who were also on boat patrol in the area, arrived soon thereafter. Officers formed a perimeter around the house and established verbal contact with Lassale.
During a brief standoff, Renata LaSalle arrived on her watercraft and allegedly began fighting with Liggett as he worked to maintain a perimeter on the house. Officials said she was quickly arrested.
DNR officials said that as officers on scene awaited additional backup, Peter Lasalle allegedly yelled at officers that he was going to retrieve a gun.
At that point, with assistance from the White County Sheriff’s Department K-9, officers forced entry into the house and conservation officers took Lasalle into custody.
One officer was injured while forcing entry into the home.
Authorities said additional charges are possible.
In a joint statement released by Lasalle’s and LaSalle’s attorney, Mark A. Delgado, of Monticello, they will be contesting the allegations.
“Understand, these are merely allegations that have not been fully investigated by both sides and even though DNR was kind enough to recite what they believe took place on July 13, 2019, Mr. Lassale and Mrs. LaSalle do not believe that it accurately reflects the events that took place at their home,” Delgado stated. “If charges are filed, and they anticipate they will, Mr. Lassale and Mrs. LaSalle will defend themselves vigorously in a court of law. They look forward to their day in court and are confident justice will prevail.”
Renata LaSalle added a lengthy comment Tuesday morning to the Herald Journal’s Facebook post concerning this story, saying, “This is a complete fabricated story and cover up by Conservation Officers who harassed us in front of our own boat house with guests at our home,” alleging that the DNR conservation officer “ran into our brand new 2019 wave runner [sic] and damaged it. The wave runner [sic] was off, never moving.”
As to the DNR’s allegation that Lasalle fled the scene to his lake home and threatened to retrieve a gun, LaSalle stated in the post, “There was no confrontation during that time. Not one time was there mention of any gun. No threats were made to anyone.”
LaSalle added that “nobody was subjected to any sobriety tests during the entire incident.”
“The conspiracy to lie and cover up their errors will be revealed in court,” she stated. “They unlawfully forced themselves into our home, breaking our door down. I never attacked any officer. I was used a pawn and suffered excessive force and I have photos of the unnecessary force of police brutality.”
Delgado stated, “Mr. Lassale and Mrs. LaSalle, first and foremost, wish to express that they have always been big supporters of law enforcement and will continue to do so throughout this process.”
Read LaSalle’s Facebook post in its entirety at www.thehj.com.