SOUTH BEND, Ind. — An Anna man lost his life in a six-vehicle crash Wednesday afternoon on the Indian Toll Road in South Bend, Indiana. A second person, a woman from Illinois, also died in the crash and the driver of a semi was arrested after the crash.
According to a press release from Indiana State Police, Eric Klein, 45, of Anna, was pronounced deceased at the scene of the crash.
At approximately 3 p.m., on June 1, 2022, Indiana State troopers were dispatched to a serious crash in the eastbound lanes of the Indiana Toll Road near mile marker 71 involving several vehicles. When troopers arrived there were several officers from the South Bend Police Department on scene that had responded from a training they were having nearby.
The preliminary investigation by Trooper Tyler Vermillion indicates eastbound traffic was slowing due to work being conducted on a bridge east of the crash scene. A red 2020 International, driven by Chasen Thompson, 26, of Hamlin, New York, failed to slow down and crashed into several vehicles in front of the International.
A gold 1997 Geo driven by Donna Tirva, 60, of Brookfield, Illinois, was struck and pushed into the center median. Tirva and two back seat passengers, Lena Tirva, 21, and Delilah Tirva, 17, were transported to a local hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries. Jacqueline Luczak, 82, of Cicero, Illinois, was in the front passenger seat and was pronounced deceased at the scene. Family of Luczak has been notified.
A white 2013 Cadillac driven by Regan Rickson, 54, of Roswell, Georgia, was struck and traveled through the median, coming to a rest on the inside shoulder of the westbound lanes. Dolores Kallas, 86 of Lombard, Illinois, was in the front passenger seat and transported to a local hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries.
A black 2015 Jeep driven by Klein, was struck and immediately caught on fire as it came to rest in the center of the eastbound lanes. Klein was pronounced deceased at the scene. His family has been notified.
A silver 2013 Chevrolet pickup driven by John Albrizio, 48, of Portage, Indiana, was struck causing it to roll and come to rest in the center median. Albrizio was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries.
A white 2021 Ford van driven by Jeffrey Stufft, 49, of Valparaiso, Indiana, was struck causing the Ford to come to rest in the ditch to the south of the eastbound lanes. Stufft was not injured.
As a result of this crash investigation, Thompson was arrested for possession of marijuana and taken to the St. Joseph County Jail. Thompson submitted to a blood draw, which is normal protocol in fatal and serious bodily injury crashes and results are pending.
This is an ongoing investigation. At the conclusion of this investigation all information will be given to the St. Joseph County Prosecutor to decide if any additional charges are warranted.
Westbound lanes on of the Indiana Toll Road opened at approximately 7:20 p.m. and eastbound lanes opened at approximately 8:20 p.m.
The Indiana State Police were assisted by the South Bend Police Department, St. Joseph County Police Department, Tom’s 24-Hour Towing, Tony’s Mobil, South Bend Fire and EMS, the St. Joseph County Coroner’s Office, and ITRCC Maintenance.
*All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law,” Indiana State Police Sgt. Ted Bohner said in the press release.