UPDATE: Driver arrested after crashing into man in wheelchair

A man in a motorized wheelchair was seriously injured Friday after being hit by a pick-up truck in northern St. Joseph County.

The accident happened just before 8 p.m near the intersection of State Road 933 and Clifford St.

Witnesses told police the wheelchair was northbound on State Road 933 when for an unknown reason, Charles Dawson, 49, of Niles veered into the path of the south bound pick-up truck.

The impact caused Dawson to be thrown from his wheelchair. He was taken to Memorial Hospital with serious head injuries.

Police are now trying to figure out why Dawson was traveling on the busy highway in the first place.

"The wheelchair, as I was told, is dark-colored, and the individual operating the wheelchair was also wearing dark clothing," said Sgt. Bill Redman of the St. Joseph County Police Department. “That's not a good combination, especially here with the heavily traveled roadway."

The driver of the pick-up, Joel Hernandez-Villalobos, 37, of South Bend, wasn't hurt. Police did take him to the St. Joseph Regional Medical Center to be tested for drugs and alcohol because of Dawson's severe injuries.

While at the hospital, Hernandez-Villalobos told investigators the wheelchair, "appeared out of nowhere." Although police don't believe he was under the influence at the time of the crash, Hernandez-Villalobos was arrested for operating a motor vehicle without a driver's license.

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