Alcohol, speed could have contributed to fatal Merrillville crash

2014-04-14T14:55:00Z 2014-04-14T23:35:05Z Alcohol, speed could have contributed to fatal Merrillville crashChas Reilly, (219) 662-5324

MERRILLVILLE | A car involved in a fatal crash early Saturday nearly split in two when it struck a large tree in the 9500 block of Colorado Street, police said.

Alcohol and speed could be factors in the single-vehicle crash that killed Melissa Barker, 24, of Cedar Lake, Merrillville police Detective Cmdr. Jeff Rice said.

The investigation of the crash continues, he said.

Rice said the car was traveling south on Colorado Street when the driver lost control of the car about 1:45 a.m. The passenger side of the vehicle struck a tree, Rice said.

Barker, a passenger in the car, was ejected from the vehicle, Rice said. She suffered blunt force trauma and was pronounced dead at the scene, Rice said.

The driver, whose identity hasn't yet been released, was out of the vehicle and walking when emergency personnel arrived, Rice said. The driver was hospitalized after the crash. Rice was uncertain of the driver's condition Monday.

About 90 minutes prior to the crash, police responded to a noise complaint. Rice said the vehicle involved in the crash was playing music loudly near a bonfire.

He declined to disclose the location of the bonfire.

Rice said people attending the bonfire complied when police asked them to turn down the music.

He said Barker and the driver of the vehicle had traveled to a store and were heading back to the bonfire when the crash occurred.

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