Four children hurt in Steuben County crash

STEUBEN CO., Ind. (ADAMS) – Indiana State Police say that four children were hurt in a crash on the Toll Road in Steuben County on Thursday.

The single-vehicle crash caused two of the kids to have to be airlifted to a Fort Wayne hospital in a medical helicopter.

Indiana State Police officials released the following regarding the crash and investigation:

At approximately this 2:00pm this (Thursday) afternoon, troopers from the Indiana State Police Toll Road Post responded to a single vehicle crash on the Indiana I-90 Toll Road near the westbound 135 mile marker, Steuben County, Indiana.

Upon arrival, troopers found a blue 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan crashed with heavy damage in the center median. The single vehicle crash, resulted in the male driver and his four children (ages ranging from 2-9 years old) being injured, with injuries varying from minor to severe. Two of the children were flown from the scene by Parkview Samaritan helicopter to a Fort Wayne area hospital, with the father and two other children being transported by ambulance to the same hospital.

Master Trooper Tony Lomonaco’s preliminary investigation revealed that Luke Christopher Peterson, 43, of Cleveland, Ohio was operating the Dodge minivan westbound on I-90 at a high rate of speed prior to losing control. The minivan ran off road into the center median, and then rolled several times prior to coming to rest.

Witnesses reported observing the Dodge minivan recklessly driving at a high rate of speed, swerving in and out of traffic prior to the crash. Witnesses further stated that the minivan swerved to avoid striking the rear of a semi-tractor trailer prior to running off into the median.

Trooper Lomonaco could not immediately ascertain if seat belts were in use, as the driver and all four children were out of the vehicle upon arrival. There were no child safety seats or booster seats located in the vehicle, but airbags were deployed.

Traffic on the I-90 Toll Road had to be shut down temporarily in both directions for nearly two hours while troopers and first responders managed the scene.

Both excessive speed and alcohol are suspected as contributing factors in the crash, and therefore remains an active and ongoing investigation. Once a thorough investigation has been completed, a full report will be turned over to the Steuben County Prosecutor for review and determination of charges to be filed.

Master Trooper Lomonaco was assisted at the scene by Trooper(s) Brandon Johnson, Nick Anderson, and Kody Buell, the Steuben County Sheriff’s Department, Orland Police, Orland Fire and EMS, Parkview Samaritan, and Bill’s Towing Service.