SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Three people died and two others were injured when an SUV struck a deer along the Indiana Toll Road and crashed into an oncoming pickup truck, police said.
Indiana State Police said preliminary findings indicate the SUV was traveling westbound just before 8 p.m. Sunday when it struck a deer, crossed the tollway's center median and collided with an eastbound pickup truck in northern Indiana's St. Joseph County.
Both the SUV's driver, Mark Pelini, 31 of Canfield, Ohio, and its sole passenger, Jillian Marian, 31, of Youngstown, Ohio, were pronounced dead at the scene, as was the pickup truck's front seat passenger, Jane Beecher, 57 of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
The pickup's driver, David Taylor, 56 of Harrisburg, and a back seat passenger, Christopher Taylor, 29 of Harrisburg, were hospitalized with serious injuries, police said.
The crash near the South Bend west plaza prompted an hours-long closure of the tollway's eastbound lanes for the crash investigation and removal of the vehicles. Traffic was moving in both directions again on Monday morning, WSBT-TV reported.
The toll road runs about 156 miles (251 kilometers) across the northernmost part of Indiana from its border with Ohio to its border with Illinois.