KOSCIUSKO COUNTY, Ind. -- A Pennsylvania man was killed and six other people injured when a pickup truck and minivan crashed just before 3:30 p.m. Sunday on SR 13 in North Webster.
Police say a northbound red F-250 pickup truck, driven by Matthew Wagoner, of Syracuse, crossed into the southbound lane in front of Maria’s House of Pancakes, colliding head-on with a silver Mazda 5 minivan. The driver of the minivan, Jeremy Valentine, of Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, died from blunt force trauma at the scene.
Wagoner's truck immediately burst into flames upon impact.
“It was just driving very erratically,” Conrad DeLatour, who was driving behind Wagoner, said of the truck. “I knew something was going to happen.”
Inside Wagoner's vehicle was 2-year-old Tyson Wagoner and 5-year-old Matthew C. Wagoner. All three were airlifted to Parkview Regional Medical Center. Matthew is listed in critical condition.
Inside Valentine's vehicle were 38-year-old Seana Valentine, 9-year-old Molly Valentine and 7-year-old Luke Valentine. All of them were airlifted to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne. Seana was listed in "very critical" condition as of noon Monday.
Ryan Taylor, of Syracuse, was driving a few cars behind Wagoner and jumped in to help in the immediate crash aftermath.
“I had heard kids yelling, so I ran up to the red truck, grabbed a little boy out the side window and got him to the side of the road,” Taylor said.
He also managed to pull a young girl out of the minivan.
“Then I looked over into the minivan and heard kids yelling over there,” he described. “I noticed that the parents were unconscious and I grabbed the one girl out, went around to the other side of the minivan to check on the boy and noticed he wasn’t doing so well.”
“I pulled her out because I didn’t want her to see her parents. It wasn’t a sight that some kids should be seeing,” Taylor added.
SR 13 traffic in both directions was rerouted around the crash site for several hours as crews cleaned up.
The North Webster Fire Department, Leesburg Fire Department, Syracuse Fire Department, Warsaw Fire Department, Multi-Township EMS, North Webster EMS, Syracuse/Turkey Creek EMS, Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department and North Webster Police Department all responded to the scene.
The North Webster Police Department and Kosciusko County Fatal Alcohol Crash Team (F.A.C.T.) are investigating.