Fatal accident shuts down US 33 for several hours

ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. -- One person is dead and several people are injured in a 2-vehicle crash that happened in Goshen around 11:30 a.m. The accident happened on US 33 in Elkhart County near the intersection of CR 146.

US 33 was shut down for 4 hours as emergency crews tended to the accident site. Elkhart County Sheriff's Department officials say a 47-year-old female from Ohio died at the scene. Three others were airlifted to a hospital in Fort Wayne.

Duane Maste said, "We could tell it was going to be pretty bad on this open stretch of road."

Maste and his family were driving home on US 33 right around 11:30 when they ran into a police roadblock.

"This is the most serious crash I've seen," said Maste who lives on the corner of US 33 and CR 146.

A 2002 maroon Pontiac Grand Prix was south bound. Behind the wheel police say was 31-year-old Sarah Fields of Elkhart. Police believe Fields crossed the center line and crashed head on into a 2002 minivan driven by 47-year-old Cynthia Gilleo of Celina, Ohio.

Gilleo died at the scene from injures she sustained.

Fields was rushed by a medical helicopter to a Ft. Wayne hospital for a fractured pelvis, head and neck injuries.

"I've never seen three helicopters on a trauma scene. Actually they landed right on top 33 right behind us," said Maste who has lived on US 33 for the past 9 years.

The accident rerouted traffic for 4 hours.

Duane Padgett of Goshen was rerouted on his moped. Once he got to the US 33/CR 146 intersection where the crash scene was visible he pulled over to the side of the road and started taking pictures on his cell phone.

He said he was rerouted, "on 13, just outside Benton going towards Syracuse. They made us come down through here."

Many onlookers pulled over on the side of the road, some with heavy hearts.

Erica Lenker who lives just a mile south of the accident scene in the town of Millersburg said, "This is very sad that this has happened in our little small community of Benton Township here."

Lenker said her son works for the volunteer fire department who was the first responders on the scene. She said her son wasn't at the scene because he is out of town on vacation. However, she still couldn't help but come down to the accident scene to see the site for herself.

Lenker said, "My heart goes out to all the first responders and of course the families of the accident victims. Just be thankful for what we have right now, because you never know when your life is going to end."

Share this article: