Distracted drivers in Steuben County lead to two crashes

Police say in both crashes, issues related to driver fatigue and inattention were found to be contributing causal factors.

Posted: Jan 9, 2020 3:31 PM
Updated: Jan 9, 2020 5:35 PM

FREMONT, Ind. (WFFT) — The Indiana State Police investigated two separate but serious crashes Thursday morning on State Road 120 in Steuben County.

Police say in both crashes, issues related to driver fatigue and inattention were found to be contributing factors.

ISP says there were no serious injuries in either crash, including the crash where a Steuben County officer was struck by a passing vehicle.

The first crash occurred at approximately 8:45 am, where a state trooper responded to a two vehicle head on crash on S.R. 120 near County Road 175 West.

Investigators determined that a black 2000 Ford Explorer driven by 39-year-old Fernando Fernandez-Perez of Angola was traveling westbound on S.R. 120 when it crossed left of center into the path of an oncoming 2019 Freightliner semi-tractor trailer driven by 66-year-old Albert Colten of Stockton, California.

The investigation revealed that driver fatigue contributed to the reason Fernandez-Perez crashed.

Both vehicles were totaled.

Fernandez-Perez sustained minor injuries and was treated and released at the scene by Steuben County EMS.

Colten was not injured.

The second crash, involved a Steuben County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Meeks, while he was assisting with traffic control duties related to the previous crash.

ISP says around 9:15 a.m. the deputy was out of his patrol car directing traffic at the S.R.120 and C.R. 175 W intersection when he was struck by a passing 2018 Chevrolet Silverado driven by 53-year-old Gary Todd Thompson of Middleton.

The deputy sustained minor injury during this incident, and was treated at the scene by Steuben County EMS.

Thompson was not injured, and his vehicle did not have much damage.

Investigators determined that the driver not paying attention was a contributing factor in this incident, and the driver was cited for disregarding a traffic control officer as a result.

The Indiana State Police reminds all drivers of the importance to being well rested before getting behind the wheel, and to always pay full attention while driving.

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