JASPER COUNTY | State police responded to two fatal accidents Saturday afternoon on Interstate 65 near the Remington exits involving students traveling home from college. A Valparaiso woman was one of two people killed in the separate accidents.
An Illinois man died and another was airlifted with life-threatening injuries when the 2003 Ford Explorer they were traveling in blew a tire and rolled approximately three times about 1:53 p.m.
John J. Malone Jr., 20, of River Forest, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Jasper County coroner's office of massive blunt force trauma, Indiana State Police said. Malone, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the back seat with the vehicle coming to a rest on him, police said.
The second accident happened at 2:50 p.m. Saturday as two vehicles were stopping near the Wolcott/Remington exit because of traffic caused by the earlier crash.
In that crash, Melissa Gelenas, 51, of Valparaiso, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Jasper County coroner's office of massive blunt force trauma, state police said.
In the first accident, the 2003 Ford Explorer was carrying five students driving home from college.
Michael D. Rendy, 20, of LaGrange, Ill., was airlifted to Advocate Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn with life-threatening injuries. Rendy also was seated in the back seat and wasn't wearing a seat belt, police said.
Two of the vehicle's occupants were transported to Jasper County Hospital in Rensselaer, including the vehicle's driver, Mario L. Guagliardo, 20, of Deerfield, Ill., with injuries to his hands, elbow and face, and Jason L. Blackman, 20, of Wilmette, Ill., with injuries to his ankle and ribs.
One occupant, Jacob M. Newman, 20, of LaGrange, was not injured. Newman was seated in the front passenger side of the vehicle.
In the second accident, Gelenas was traveling with her daughter, Christin B. Gelenas, 21, when their 1999 Ford Explorer rolled after being struck by another vehicle.
State police said the driver of the second vehicle, Shannon K. Morrison, 20, of Wheatfield, swerved to the right to avoid a car in front of her as she noticed traffic backing up. She then lost control, over corrected and began to slide, causing her vehicle to hit the Explorer on the passenger side, state police said.
Morrison was not hurt in the crash but was cited for unsafe lane movement, police said.
Christin Gelenas was transported to Jasper County Hospital with abrasions to her knees.
Alcohol and drugs were not a factor in either crash, police said. The students' colleges were not immediately known Saturday evening.
All lanes of northbound I-65 were closed for the accidents with lanes reopening at 5:42 p.m.