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Mishawaka, Osceola, Elkhart, Plymouth, etc.


Postby Happy Mom » Wed Jan 01, 2020 6:15 pm

Two dead, two critical after vehicle found in pond on University Drive in Mishawaka
By Howard Dukes South Bend Tribune Dec 31, 2019

MISHAWAKA — Fire officials Tuesday afternoon pulled four people from a vehicle that went into a pond along East University Drive.

Two have died and two are in critical condition at area hospitals. County Coroner Michael J. McGann said Tuesday night the two deaths were due to drowning. Names were not released.

Rescue personnel received a dispatch around 2:44 p.m. that a vehicle had gone into the retention pond on University Drive, according to David Ray, assistant chief for the Mishawaka Fire Department.

Firefighters pulled one adult and three juveniles from the vehicle. The victims were taken to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center and to Memorial Hospital.

Ray said witnesses reported that the SUV was traveling east on University Drive when it went the pond, which is across from Ruth's Chris Steak House. Rescue personnel reported tire tracks that apparently went toward the pond.

According to Ray, divers from Mishawaka and South Bend searched the pond as the vehicle was being pulled from the water. Divers continued the search to make sure that all victims had been pulled from the water.

Police closed a portion of University Drive to traffic during the rescue effort, and Ray said that the road would likely remain closed for several hours.

Details on why the vehicle went into the water were not available. Ray said the St. Joseph County Fatal Crash Team is handling the investigation, and that investigators would be talking to witnesses to learn more about the incident. ... fd258.html
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Re: Accident

Postby Happy Mom » Thu Jan 02, 2020 7:58 pm

Questions surround Mishawaka pond crash that killed 2 children, including dispatchers' actions

By Marek Mazurek South Bend Tribune 4 hrs ago


MISHAWAKA — The death of two children after a vehicle slid into a retention pond Tuesday has left a swirl of questions about the actions of dispatchers and the safety of the intersection where the incident occurred.

The head of St. Joseph County's 911 dispatch center issued a release late Thursday saying the actions of center employees were under investigation, in conjunction with the broader probe of the incident.

"We are conducting our own investigation to determine if we can respond quicker and more accurately; we will review procedures to make sure we are as helpful as we can be during emergency calls," Raymond Schultz, executive director of the 911 center, said in the statement. "Our review will also include analysis of whether any disciplinary action is in order under these circumstances."

On Dec. 1 , 2005, Bob Dainton, a firefighter and diver with the Mishawaka Fire Department, watches the recovery of a car from a pond on University Drive. The car was submerged in the pond after the driver lost control in icy road conditions.

Tribune File Photo/Jim Rider
According to a recording of the dispatchers from Tuesday afternoon, Clay Fire Territory units were initially dispatched. A dispatcher is heard trying to pinpoint the location of the incident, at one point thinking it's the nearby Costco. Shortly after, the correct location was identified, and the dispatcher can be heard telling Clay units to disregard because the incident would be handled by Mishawaka first-responders.

The accident was not the first time a vehicle had slid into the pond near the intersection of University Drive and University Drive Court. On Dec. 1, 2005, the driver of a silver Toyota Camry was able to get out of his vehicle safely after he slid off the road and into the retention pond, according to Tribune archives.

"The car was about eight feet deep in the center of the pond,” Indiana State Police Sgt. Trent Smith said at the time. “The water had to be about 34 degrees or so. On top, of course, it was frozen.”

That same day, about 15 minutes later and as rescue crews were still at the scene, another car ran into a retention pond directly across the street, the archives show. The driver, with the help of rescuers, escaped unharmed.

"We (were working on the first accident) then watched the other one happen across the street," Mishawaka Fire Department Lt. Brent Mishler said then.

He added: "With icy roads, people don’t think about water in the city, and it only takes water over your head to kill you.”

Nearly 14 years later, the occupants in a black minivan went into the same pond, located near a Red Roof Inn and across from Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.

James Kleven, 4, and Natalie Kleven, 2, of Granger, both died. Their mother, Brooke Kleven, 31, and a 3-month old sibling, Hendrix Kleven, are in critical condition.

Brooke Kleven was traveling east on University Drive when she "failed to negotiate a curve" and slid off the road and into the pond, according to St. Joseph County's Fatal Crash Team. The investigator on the case, Capt. Tim Spencer, said the evidence suggests Kleven was not speeding and pointed out that road conditions were slick at the time of the crash.

Rescue crews were dispatched to the scene at about 2:45 p.m. Tuesday. Divers from Mishawaka and South Bend searched the pond as the vehicle was being removed from the water and pulled the victims from the water. Brooke, James and Natalie "had been submerged for several minutes," while Hendrix "could not be removed until the vehicle had been removed from the water," authorities said in a release.

Photos from a Tribune aerial drone show a set of tire tracks in the grass inches away from a stop sign at the intersection of University Drive and University Drive Court. The tracks run between two trees and straight into the pond.

The owner of the property is listed as City Plaza, a company associated with Great Lakes Capital. Great Lakes Capital did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Adam Bowden, Mishawaka's assistant director of engineering, said businesses are responsible for handling runoff water, with retention ponds being the most common method, as they are often made into decorative displays.

He said the city uses historic rainfall data to determine the required volume for retention ponds, and mandates that such ponds be built on private property, not in the public right of way.

Bowden was not familiar with the specifics, including the depth, of the pond on University Drive.

Asked about the city's safety requirements around retention ponds, he said, "It'd be best to hold off judgment on that until the investigation is completed."

David Ray, Mishawaka's assistant fire chief, said retention ponds are "one more thing that we train for" and that he's unsure if installing barriers would be worthwhile, pointing out that, for example, trees and are also hazards to drivers.

"We're concerned about every standing body of water in the county," he said.

In addition to the incidents on University Drive in 2005, a driver was unharmed in December 2016 after his car slid onto a frozen retention pond near Walmart on Portage Road in South Bend. A Tribune photo from 1997 shows a North Liberty couple that escaped a plunge into an Edison Lakes retention pond in Mishawaka. Also, a Tribune article from July 1996 described the rescue of an 81-year-old woman who drove into a pond near the 3800 block of Main Street in Mishawaka. Other motorists stopped to help her.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, a relative of Brooke Kleven's asked for prayers for the family and wrote of the "unspeakable/unfathomable tragedy."

"Pray for all of our hearts," the relative wrote. "This is so much to process and take in. It's very hard."

The message added, "Hug your family/friends/those you love! Life is so precious."

574-235-6234 ... c8f4a.html
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