LaPorte Co. woman killed in U.S. 20 crash

2013-07-30T15:22:00Z 2013-07-30T23:51:05Z LaPorte Co. woman killed in U.S. 20 crashStan Maddux Times Correspondent
July 30, 2013 3:22 pm  • 

A LaPorte County woman was killed Tuesday outside LaPorte in a crash that brought traffic on U.S. 20 to a halt for miles.

Authorities said Norma Rauschenbach, 75, was heading home about 11 a.m. when she died of blunt force trauma about a half-mile from her Springfield Township residence.

Despite wearing a seat belt and her car having air bags, "it was not survivable," LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan said.

All four lanes of the highway were closed to allow for the investigation and clean up of the crash site.

Vehicles were backed up for miles to the east and west of the crash scene.

Ali Ibrahim, manager of East Side Produce, a mile east of U.S. 35, said vehicles only at times nudged forward during the two-hour road closure.

LaPorte County Sheriff Mike Mollenhauer said the victim was westbound and stopped to turn left onto County Road 325 West when it was struck in the rear by a SUV driven by Jason Fields, 38, of South Bend.

Rauschenbach's 2011 Buick Lucerne was pushed into the eastbound lanes and struck by an oncoming car operated by John Dorroll, 82, of Valparaiso.

"There were two separate hits to her car," Sullivan said.

Sullivan said Rauschenbach was heading to her home on 325 West but wasn't sure where she had been.

That stretch of U.S. 20 carries a high volume of traffic and lacks turning lanes forcing drivers to stop in the passing lane to turn left onto roads and parking lots or driveways along the thoroughfare.

"When you're turning you just got to watch yourself at all times," Mollenhauer said.

Dorroll was transferred to a hospital in South Bend but his condition was not known, authorities said.

Fields was treated at Franciscan St. Anthony Health for injuries believed less serious.

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