Fatal car accident Indiana Today – On Wednesday afternoon and early evening, a totalled 2008 Ford Escape stood in the shadow of a weathered roadside memorial to a terrible collision that occurred many years ago. A second collision that resulted in a fatality would be recorded at the intersection of State Route. 327 and C.R. 250S, in the southwest corner of the intersection is a cross made of metal fence posts that has the inscription RIP at the top of the cross.
Nitika Smith, who was 16 years old and from rural LaGrange, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident that took place at approximately 4:30 p.m. in the region that is located between West Otter Lake and Big Turkey Lake. Wednesday, according to Chief Deputy Mike Meeks of the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office.
She was riding as a passenger in the Escape that was being operated by Lucas Corber, who was 18 years old and from rural Fremont. Both Hayden Pelletier, 18, and Evander Pelletier, all of rural Fremont, were riding along in the vehicle as well. Early Wednesday evening, both Pelletiers and Corber were transported in serious condition to the Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne by helicopter from the scene. The helicopters that transported them were provided by Samaritan and Lutheran Air.
Meeks claimed Corber was traveling west on C.R. 250S, and it would appear that they did not stop when they reached the crossroads of S.R. 327. The SUV was involved in a head-on collision with a semi tractor-trailer rig traveling northbound that was driven by Kim Whipple, 56, from Portage. According to Meeks, the driver of the semi tried to come to a stop. The Escape was found abandoned in the middle of a field of corn stubble. The semi was held up on State Route. 327.
According to Sheriff R.J. Robinson, neither Whipple nor his dog sustained any injuries in the incident. According to Meeks, the first responders to arrive on the site were crews from the Salem Center and Stroh fire departments. They were assisted by deputies from the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office in their efforts to free the four young individuals trapped within the Escape.
Sheriff’s deputies started their preliminary investigation of the crash as soon as the victims who were trapped in the vehicle were freed, according to Meeks. This happened after the victims were freed. At the time of the accident, there was no precipitation in the sky, and the road surface was completely dry. It is unknown whether or not the passengers in the Ford Escape were wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash.
The crash, which is still being investigated by the Sheriff’s Office, is not thought to have been caused by alcohol use on anyone’s part. The Steuben County Coroner’s Office, the Steuben County Emergency Medical Service, the Salem Township Fire Department, the Stroh Fire Department, the Samaritan Helicopter, the Lutheran Air Helicopter, the Angola Police Department, the Indiana State Police, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Law Enforcement were all present to provide assistance to the sheriff’s officials at the scene.