Subscribe for 33¢ / day
Lake County coroner's van stock

A Lake County coroner’s van

MERRILLVILLE — The Lake County Coroner's office has identified the woman who died in a fiery crash in the early morning hours of New Year's Eve as Kayla Nelson, 23, of Oak Park, Illinois. 

Merrillville police and fire officials were dispatched about 3:15 a.m. Sunday for a report of a car crash near Independence Park in the 3000 block of West 73rd Avenue. 

Nelson was one of three passengers in a Lexus SUV when it left the roadway and struck a tree on the north side of 73rd Avenue. The car became "engulfed in flames," according to a Merrillville Police Department news release. 

Nelson died from blunt force trauma in the car crash. She was pronounced dead at 3:55 a.m. at the scene. The driver and other passengers, all male, were transported to hospitals with life-threatening injuries. 

Merrillville police and fire, Schererville emergency personnel and the coroner's office all assisted at the scene. 

Subscribe to Daily Headlines

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Northlake County Reporter

Lauren covers North Lake County government, breaking news, crime and environmental issues for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.