UPDATE: Speed, alcohol and icy roads likely factors in fatal crash

The St. Joseph County Police Department and the St. Joseph County FACT team are investigating an accident that left one man dead and two others injured.

It happened around 10:45 p.m. Friday night, just east of the intersection of Cleveland Rd. and Juniper Rd. The crash involved two vehicles, a westbound Pontiac sedan and an eastbound Chrysler mini-van.

According to witness statements and evidence gathered at the scene, the Pontiac appeared to have been speeding, when the driver lost control on the icy roadway, spun several times and crossed into the eastbound lanes of Cleveland Rd., hitting the mini-van.

The driver of the Pontiac, Christopher Perkins, 40, of Mishawaka, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The occupants of the mini-van, Andrew Zawisza, 76, and Terry Zawisza, 74, both of Granger, were transported to Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Although toxicology test results are pending, it's believed alcohol, speed and the icy roadway were all factors in the fatal crash.

"Even in perfect conditions, a high rate of speed is not going to be anybody's friend," said Lt. Matt Blank. "And, when you add in ice and snow, it just magnifies it much more and makes it more dangerous. It definitely played a role."

Cleveland Rd., which was shut down in the area for a few hours, has since re-opened to normal traffic. The crash remains under investigation.


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