Back-to-back fatalities on I-65, both involving college students returning home
One fatal crash on Interstate 65 on Saturday afternoon led to another, according to Indiana State Police, both involving students returning home from college. A Valparaiso woman was killed in the second accident.
The first crash happened just north of the Remington exit at 1:53 p.m. Saturday. A Ford Explorer carrying a carload of students coming home from Indiana University was in the right northbound lane when it lost control after a tire blew out.
The vehicle rolled three times after veering across the road and eventually landed in the left lane.
The Explorer landed on one of the passengers, John J. Malone Jr., 20, of River Forest, Ill., who was thrown from the vehicle. Malone was pronounced dead at the scene from massive blunt force trauma.
Another passenger, Michael D. Rendy, 20, of LaGrange, Ill., was also thrown from the Explorer. He was airlifted to Advocate Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill., with life threatening injuries. Neither Rendy nor Malone were wearing seat belts, according to police.
Another passenger, Jason L. Blackman, 20, of Wilmette, Ill., was taken to Jasper County Hospital with ankle and rib injuries, and the front-seat passenger, Jacob M. Newman, 20, of LaGrange, Ill., was not injured.
The driver, Mario L. Guagliardo, 20, of Deerfield, Ill., was also taken to Jasper County Hospital with injuries to his hands, elbow and face.
All northbound lanes were closed, and about an hour later, another Ford Explorer going north on I-65 slowed down just 4 miles south of the first accident because of traffic.
A Mercury Sable, driven by Shannon K. Morrison, 20, of Wheatfield, was also going north and did not slow down in time for traffic, swerving to avoid a collision. The Sable lost control, however, and hit the Explorer, driven by Christin B. Gelenas, 21, of Valparaiso. The Explorer rolled and ejected Gelenas’ mother and front-seat passenger, Melissa Gelenas, 51, of Valparaiso.
Melissa Gelenas was pronounced dead at the scene. Christin Gelenas suffered abrasions to her knees and was taken to Jasper County Hospital. Morrison, who was not injured, was cited for unsafe lane movement.
Morrison was returning home from Purdue University in West Lafayette, according to the Indiana State Police.