LOWELL — A Lafayette teen was killed in a crash involving three vehicles on Tuesday afternoon on I-65 at the 237 mile marker near Lowell.
Emma Conner, 19, of Lafayette, was fatally injured in the crash, which occurred at 4:15 p.m., local time. Due to her injury status, she could not be flown to the hospital but instead transported by ambulance to Franciscan Health Hospital in Crown Point.
Conner would later die from her injuries at the hospital, according to the Lake County Coroner’s Office. Blunt force trauma as a result of the crash was listed as the cause of death.
According to Indiana State Police, troopers responded to a three-vehicle crash with one of the drivers reportedly entrapped inside a burning vehicle. Trooper Brian Runyon’s preliminary investigation of the scene revealed that traffic had been slowed to a stop due to a vehicle fire southbound at mile marker 232 when a green 2010 Jeep Wrangler, driven by Brian Swartz of Kouts, rear-ended a blue 2007 Toyota at a high rate of speed.
The impact pushed the Toyota into a third vehicle, a 2005 Chevrolet truck driven by Brian Meyer of Rensselaer. The Jeep came to rest on top of the Toyota.
Conner was the driver of the Toyota. When they arrived on the scene, first responders had difficulty removing Conner from her vehicle due to severe damage.
Police said Conner was conscious at the scene, but she had sustained serious, life-threatening injuries. A helicopter was contacted and arrived on the scene, with the northbound lanes of the interstate shut down to give it room to land.
Traffic was backed up on I-65 for approximately five miles prior to the three-vehicle crash. Traffic was stopped so that first responders could put out the vehicle fire and clean up the area.
Assisting at the scene were UCAN (University of Chicago Aeromedical Network), Tai-Creek EMS, Lowell Fire, Jasper County Sheriff’s Department deputies, INDOT and Cheever’s Towing of DeMotte.
Alcohol and/or drugs are not believed to be a factor in the crash, ISP said in a statement.
An investigation into the crash is ongoing. Once it is completed, all findings will be presented to the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office for consideration of any charges.