Man airlifted to hospital after off-road vehicle crashes in Kosciusko County

PIERCETON, Ind. – Officers with Indiana Department of Natural Resources are investigating the crash of an off-road vehicle that happened near Ridinger Lake on Saturday. The passenger of the vehicle was injured and had to be airlifted to the hospital.

A 911 call came in at 7:40 p.m. on reports of a crash and injury. The incident occurred on EMS R4 Lane.

It was reported that the passenger in the crash was found unresponsive and being administered CPR by a passerby.

The driver also fled the scene, according to reports.

A preliminary investigation revealed that the vehicle was being operated 39-year-old Joel Zehner.

Investigators say the passenger fell out of the vehicle during a turn. 

The passenger was later airlifted to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne.

Zehner fled the scene in the vehicle that the crash occurred in. That same vehicle was found abandoned three miles from the site of the crash on old State Road 30 at the Kosciusko and Whitley County line.

A Whitley County K9 unit then tracked down Zehner at a campsite. Zehner showed that he was in possession of a firearm.

Around 9:15 p.m., officers on scene were able to take Zehner into custody after talking to him and disarming him of his weapon.

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