County reaches settlement in 2019 fatal pond crash

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. - A settlement has been reached between St. Joseph County and the Kleven family for around $5 million, following a deadly pond crash in Mishawaka in 2019.

The family filed the lawsuit in 2021 after their minivan crashed into a Mishawaka retention pond on University Drive in 2019.

The driver, Brooke Kleven, slid off the icy road after officials say she failed to negotiate the curve and crashed into the freezing pond, leaving her and her three children trapped inside, submerged under water. 

Four-year-old James and two-year-old Natalie were killed in the crash. Kleven and her three-month-old son were in critical condition. 

Wednesday, local business owners spoke up saying, they're happy to hear about the settlement, but no amount of money can make up for the lives lost.

One male, who witnessed the tragic scene on that winter day, had hoped a rail or fence would be put up, but rather, the only addition is fresh flowers and a memorial near the retention pond.

The lawsuit was filed under the child wrongful death act alluding alleged reckless behavior by first responders.

The lawsuit also criticized how dispatch handled the 9-1-1 calls.

You can read that full complaint filed on our website.


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