On Tuesday, January 22nd, at around 2:00 PM, La Porte County Sheriff’s Office Deputies were dispatched to US Highway 20 east of Range Road, in rural Kankakee Township, reference a two vehicle crash with injuries. The crash investigation revealed a GMC pickup truck, driven by 25 year old Zachary Lane, of Texas was traveling west on US 20. While doing so, Lane drove left of center into the eastbound lanes of US 20. The pickup truck Lane was operating collided with a Dodge van. The van was being operated by 44 year old Ryan Wireman, of South Bend. At the time of the crash, the immediate area was experiencing freezing rain and the roadway surface was icy. Lane complained of upper body pain. Wireman complained of arm pain and was transported to an area hospital for treatment. A passenger riding in Wireman’s vehicle, 85 year old Lena Pera, of Valparaiso, was conscious at the scene and advised the investigating deputy that she had leg pain. After being transported from the scene for treatment, Pera later died at an area hospital. According to La Porte County Coroner Bob Cutler, Pera died as the result of “blunt force trauma.”

The matter remains under investigation by the Coroner’s Office.