The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, March 16, 2016 6:17 am

Van-semi crash leaves 2 dead, 2 seriously hurt

Chris Meyers The Journal Gazette

A midday drive for four family members turned into a scene of deadly destruction when a semi slammed into their minivan Thursday afternoon in northeast Allen County.

Two girls were left dead after the crash.

Another girl and the 20-year-old woman who was driving the van were flown in serious condition to a hospital, according to the Allen County Sheriff’s Department.

The semi driver was not injured.

Investigators worked Thursday afternoon to figure out what caused the carnage at the intersection of Campbell Road and Indiana 101.

There were two theories: Either the minivan was headed west on Campbell Road and pulled across Indiana 101 in front of the semi, or the van was headed south on Indiana 101 and slowed or stopped to turn east onto Campbell Road.

"We don’t know if the van was stopped getting ready to turn," said Lt. Steve Stone, spokesman for the sheriff’s department.

Bystanders later said the minivan was headed south on the highway and went to turn east onto the rural road, but that could not be confirmed.

Stone said everyone in the van was related.

A woman who lives nearby and owns the overgrown grassy area where the semi and van ended up after the crash said she was home and heard a loud thud.

She thought it was a neighbor closing a large truck or semi door until she looked out and saw the emergency personnel.

She wanted to help, but they told her to stay out of the area because they were looking for a baby.

That confusion arose from an empty booster seat in the middle row of seats in the minivan.

Rescuers were able to determine, however, that the young child was not in the van at the time of the crash.

"Whenever you have a crash like this, that is a concern, but everyone has been accounted for," Stone said of the search for possible victims.

The crash snapped a utility pole, leaving wires snagged on the semi.

AEP crews worked to free the lines from the semi and install a new pole.

The impact left the minivan decimated, with only the front section recognizable and the entire passenger side destroyed. The driver side was still intact.

Debris was strewn across Indiana 101 south of the intersection as crews worked to clear wreckage and sort out what caused two people to lose their lives.

The identities of those involved were not released by police.

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