A multi-vehicle crash north of Walton sent eight people to area hospitals on Saturday evening.
Emergency personnel were dispatched to the scene near CR 600 South on U.S. 35. Cass County Sheriff Ed Schroder and Deputy Brenton McDonald responded to the crash along with Walton Fire, Galveston Fire, New Waverly Fire and Phoenix Ambulance Service.
Initial assessment of the scene found a three-vehicle crash with the northbound land of U.S. 35 blocked by one of the vehicles and the other two vehicles off the east side of U.S. 35.
Preliminary investigation by McDonald found that 24-year-old Jade Cook of Kokomo had been driving a 2014 four-door Jeep Cherokee southbound on U.S. 35 north when he drove left of center and struck two other vehicles.
Cook had to be extricated from the vehicle by fire personnel. Cook was airlifted to a Fort Wayne hospital by Lutheran Helicopter with non-life threatening injuries.
The first vehicle struck by the Jeep was a 2005 Dodge van driven by 52-year-old Daniel Cope of Logansport. Cope was driving northbound on U.S. 35 when he attempted to avoid the southbound Jeep by driving off the east side of the roadway.
The Jeep continued southbound in the northbound lane striking Cope’s vehicle and forcing him into the side ditch. Cope, Lauryn Cope and three juvenile children were transported from the scene by Phoenix Ambulance to Logansport Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The second vehicle struck by the Jeep was a 2011 Dodge pickup truck driven by 49-year-old Ronald Manriquez of Onward. Manriquez was driving northbound on U.S. 35 when he attempted to avoid the southbound Jeep by driving off the east side of the roadway.
The Jeep struck the Dodge truck forcing it to come to rest on the driver’s side and off the roadway. After being extricated from the Dodge truck, Manriquez and his passenger, April Manriquez, were transported with non-life threatening injuries by a Galveston Fire Department Ambulance to Saint Joseph Hospital in Kokomo.
McDonald stated this was truly an all hands on deck community effort to resolve the emergency situation and open the roadway as quickly as possible.
The investigation is ongoing and alcohol is not considered to be a factor in this crash. Anyone with additional information is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 574-753-7800.