PORTAGE, Ind. — Police are seeking tips following a six-vehicle crash that killed a Northwest Indiana middle school teacher and condemned “incorrect” speculation.
At around 5:45 p.m. on Nov. 8, Portage police responded to the intersection of Willowcreek and Lute on the report of a crash involving six vehicles.
Police believe a 42-year-old man, driving a gray Cadillac SUV, was traveling at “an extreme speed” southbound on Willowcreek before rear-ending a GMC SUV stopped at a red light.
Police said that the GMC was struck with such force that it hit a third vehicle and caused secondary collisions between three other vehicles.
The driver of the GMC, 24-year-old Lauren Thompson, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Cadillac, a 42-year-old Portage man, was airlifted for serious head and internal injuries.
Thompson was in her second year of teaching English at Chesterton Middle School.
Police said Monday night that witness statements, video footage, evidence at the scene and vehicle inspections have been slowed down “somewhat” and some information has turned out to be “inaccurate.”
As a result, police are asking for legitimate tips and condemned those who are speculating about the crash to “stop sharing on social media.”
Due to the medical condition of the driver, police have not been able to speak with him.
“At this point, we know extremely excessive speed was the main factor. However, we do not currently know if there were any other contributing factors / circumstances. We are currently waiting on toxicology results and vehicle data, which require court orders. Additionally, we have been unable to speak with the driver, who triggered the crash, due to his current medical condition. Once we have completed our investigation, we will forward our information to the Porter County Prosecutor’s Office for review. At that time, if charges are applicable, we will move forward accordingly,” part of a statement read.
Additionally, police said social media information by onlookers posted quickly online after the crash caused family members to be aware of it before notifications were made by responders.
“I believe it is our duty and responsibility to all those involved to not compromise this case. We appreciate everyone’s patience and will release further information upon the filing of charges if applicable,” police said.
Chesterton Middle School said their community was devastated to hear about the passing of Thompson.
Anyone with information can leave a tip at 219-762-3122.