inwc-1-9-20-crashes

A crash on East Old Trail Road in Whitley County on Monday morning left one dead and one seriously injured. It was the third fatal accident involving local residents in six days.

WHITLEY COUNTY — Three individuals from the Whitley County area have been killed in separate vehicle accidents in a six-day span, from Jan. 1-Jan. 6.

On New Year’s Day, a Churubusco man was killed after his off-road vehicle rolled in a accident on a Noble County road.

Indiana Conservation Officers were called out to the rollover accident that occurred in the 3300 block of south C.R. 600E, LaOtto, at 1:41 p.m.

A side-by-side off-road vehicle with one occupant was traveling south on C.R. 600E and lost control when it hit a patch of snow in the roadway. The vehicle then went off the east side of the roadway and rolled multiple times.

The driver, Chad J. Miller, 49, of Churubusco, was not wearing a seat belt, helmet, or any other protective riding gear and was pinned under the vehicle. A passerby called 911 and reported the accident.

Miller was pronounced dead from injuries sustained in the wreck.

The Noble County Sheriff’s Department, Churubusco Fire Department, LaOtto Fire Department, Parkview Noble EMS and the Noble County Coroner’s Office assisted on scene.

On Friday, a Columbia City man was killed in a single-vehicle accident Friday evening between Tri-Lakes and Churubusco.

According to the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department, Seth Thompson, 20, was found in the 5700 block of North CR 450E.

Thompson was traveling northbound on CR 450E, and when the vehicle approached a curve, it continued straight, going down an embankment and into a tree.

The Whitley County Sheriff’s Department and Whitley County coroner are investigating the crash. No others were found inside the vehicle.

The Smith Township Fire Department was also dispatched to the scene.

Monday morning, a passenger was killed and the driver was hurt after a vehicle crashed on Old Trail Road, east of Columbia City.

According to a news release by the Indiana State Police, at approximately 7:15 a.m., Master Trooper Todd Reed responded to a reported crash on Old Trail at CR 300E., where he found an overturned vehicle with two occupants trapped inside and “seriously injured.”

“Due to the extensive nature of the vehicle damage, the troopers were unable to provide immediate medical assistance,” the release stated.

The driver, Donnie Jackson, 30, of Columbia City, was airlifted to Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne in serious condition.

His passenger, Dakota Messmann, 23, of Columbia City, was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the police report, Jackson was driving eastbound on Old Trail Road, and immediately prior to the crash, he passed another eastbound vehicle at a high rate of speed while in a no-passing zone.

For an unknown reason, Jackson’s vehicle left the roadway to the north, overcorrected, then lost control and impacted a tree on the south side of the road.

Both men were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash, police say.

Responding to the scene along with the Indiana State Police were the Columbia City Fire Department, Union Fire Department, Columbia Township Fire Department, Parkview EMS, Parkview Samaritan and the Whitley County Coroner.

The crash and the causation factors remain under investigation.

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