Deadly Interstate 65 crash

Mourners pay tribute to 'great mother,' others killed in I-65 crash

2013-08-19T22:28:00Z 2013-12-28T08:24:06Z Mourners pay tribute to 'great mother,' others killed in I-65 crashDeborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 nwitimes.com

MERRILLVILLE | Under a full moon sky, friends and family of Lindsey Williams paid tribute to her memory at the restaurant where she had worked.

Friends from Williams' Innsbrook neighborhood, including Regina Nelson, shared memories before placing lit candles on a small fountain in an outdoor patio area at Villa Del Sol Mexican Restaurant.

"It's so terrible that you can't believe it," Nelson said.

Her daughter, Erica Allison, was best friends with Williams.

"This will be hard for a long, long time," Nelson said.

Williams, 27, of Merrillville, was one of seven people killed Thursday night in a fiery crash on Interstate 65 in Jasper County.

The crash also claimed the lives of Williams' two daughters, Yazmin Goldman, 5, and Arielle Goldman, 3; Williams' uncle, Amando Mangual, 49, of Merrillville; her sister, Yvette Williams, 35; and Yvette Williams' two children, Jamin Osborne, 5, and Jasmin Osborne, 7, all of Atlanta.

Sergio and Sharyl Gutierrez, restaurant owners, said Williams had worked for them as a hostess and recently was hired by the Merrillville Community School Corp. as a bus driver.

The Gutierrezes called her a beautiful person inside and out.

"She worked hard to get her driver's license. She was really happy at what she was doing and was a great mother to her two little girls, who liked to throw coins in the fountain," Sharyl Gutierrez said.

Mary Wallace was one of several bus drivers who came to pay tribute to Williams.

"It was a pleasure to have known her, even for a short time. She was very nice and such a beautiful person," Wallace said.

In the initial accident report, Indiana State Police said a 2005 Jeep Cherokee driven by Yvette Williams was crushed between two semitrailers.

Officers responded to the crash at 9:52 p.m. on northbound Interstate 65 just south of Ind. 2.

Steven Crockett, 33, of Union, Ohio, was driving a 2012 Freightliner semi with the Jeep Cherokee following behind.

The Freightliner and Jeep stopped because of a traffic backup approaching a work zone, police said.

A 2007 Volvo semitractor, driven by Howard Stratton, 55, of Grand Rapids, Mich., was traveling behind the Jeep and rear-ended it, pushing it into the back of the Freightliner's trailer.

The collision caused the Jeep to burst into flames.

A state police spokesman said Monday the crash is still under investigation and no decision has been made whether to file any criminal charges. Jasper County prosecutor Kathryn O'Neal was out of the office Monday and couldn't be reach for comment.

Jeff Julkes, a friend of Williams since both attended Merrillville High School, has established an online fundraiser for her family that already has brought in more than $9,000.

Anyone wanting to donate to the family can go to https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/aa3j1 .

A Facebook memorial page also has been set up by Julkes for Williams and her family at https://www.facebook.com/lindseywilliamsandfamily .

Funeral services had not yet been finalized on Monday afternoon, said Veronica Goldman-House, Yazmin Goldman and Arielle Goldman's grandmother.

Times staff writer Bill Dolan contributed to the report.

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