by Mike Fletcher
For the Pharos-Tribune
BUNKER HILL —
Two Peru residents died Wednesday morning in a two-vehicle crash on U.S. 31 at Ind. 218.
An Indiana State Police report stated that Russell Ooten, 87, Peru, was driving a 1995 Ford Econoline van south on U.S. 31 about 9:50 a.m. when he attempted to turn east onto Ind. 218 and failed to yield at the median crossover. He struck striking a northbound 2013 Chevrolet Suburban van.
Earl Ooten, 79, and Margie Highfill, 79, who were passengers in the Ford, died in the crash. Highfill was pronounced dead at the scene by Miami County Deputy Coroner Todd Burns and Earl Ooten died in Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne, where he was taken for treatment, state police reported.
Russell Ooten suffered a head injury and was transported by ambulance to Dukes Memorial Hospital. He was later transferred to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne.
The driver of the Chevrolet, Jeremy Burton, 26, was transported to Dukes Memorial Hospital with a complaint of back and neck pain. After impact, Ooten’s van continued southeast into the lot of a gas station. It came to rest after hitting the protective barrier next to a row of gas pumps, the state police reported.
The Miami County Sheriff Department, Bunker Hill Police Department, Grissom Fire Department, the Pipe Creek Fire Department, Miami County Emergency Management, and Galveston EMS assisted state police in the crash.
This crash is still under investigation, but at this time, neither the use of alcohol nor illegal narcotics are suspected as having contributed to the crash.