St. Joseph County- The victim of a fatal crash near the St. Joseph/ LaPorte County line has been identified as Skyler Kleine, 17, of LaPorte, IN. The passenger is Aaron Oaks, 19, also of LaPorte. Oaks was transported to Memorial Hospital for pain to his left arm and leg. The driver of the semi was Kenneth Kollinger, 63, of White Lake, MI. Kollinger wasn't injured.
Those who drove by still don’t believe what they saw.
“They were doing 60 plus, (miles per hour) it looked like they were just, it looked like they were just going to daredevil it across the road,” said witness Jerry Callahan.
The silver Volkswagen Jetta thee teens were traveling in was northbound on County Line Road when it ignored a stop sign at State Road 2 and sped into the cross traffic of the four lane divided highway.
“I just seen him coming out of that intersection full blast because I noticed him so I slowed down because I knew he wasn’t going to stop,” said Callahan.
The Jetta hit an eastbound semi-truck broadside. “Evidently tried to brake hard, and ended up under the back wheels of the semi,” said St. Joseph County Sheriff Michael Grzegorek. “The semi then rolled up over the top, the rear wheels of the semi rolled up over the top of the Volkswagen Jetta.”
The crash pushed the roof of the car on top of the teens. Witnesses to the crash were quick to notice and eager to help; including “Culligan Man” Jerry Callahan who is a plumber for the soft water company and often uses a saw on the job.
“As soon as we saw it, you know, we all just started chipping in and we all, we all just started running over there, you know and I had the Sawzalll, we cut ‘em out, cut the seat belt off the kid. The thing was, is get the kids out of the car you know, and they looked like they were kids,” said Callahan.
Callahan said Oaks was freed from the Jetta before firefighters arrived although it was obvious that nothing could be done for the Kleine.
The sheriff was not sure how familiar the young men were with the road they were on. “When he was braking, coming off of County Line Road there evidently according to witnesses was turning hard as if he was going to try to get into the (eastbound) traffic. As opposed to cross traffic. Not really sure but it appears maybe he didn't realize the stop sign was coming up. We do have a hill just on the south side of State Road 2 on County Line Road and may have not known that stop sign was there and was trying to brake for that stop sign when, when he entered into the into the roadway.”
Drugs and alcohol are not believed to be factors in the crash.