La Porte County Sheriff’s deputies are investigating a fatal crash that occurred Thursday morning on State Road 8.

Thursday morning at 8:39 a.m., deputies were summoned to the intersection of SR 8 and CR 875 West, rural Dewey Township, for a two vehicle personal injury crash. Three minutes later, a deputy arrived at the scene and located the involved vehicles west of the intersection along SR 8.

The initial crash investigation determined that a 2001 Dodge Ram pickup truck, driven by 79 year old Joseph F. Barker of Valparaiso, was traveling southbound on CR 875 West. A 2021 GMC Penske box truck, driven by 24 year old Bradley R. Rynberk of Cedar Lake, was traveling westbound on SR 8.  According to the report, Rynberk advised that as he approached the intersection, he suddenly saw the pickup truck driven by Barker, but was unable to avoid a crash.  

According to the report, a witness advised she was traveling westbound on SR 8 behind the GMC box truck. She explained that she observed the Dodge pickup truck disregard the stop sign on CR 875 West and enter onto SR 8, ultimately failing to yield to the GMC box truck.  

Following the crash, the GMC box truck left the the roadway, struck a utility pole and came to rest on top of a culvert.  

Barker was pronounced dead at the scene. Rynberk sustained an upper body injury and was airlifted to a regional hospital for treatment.  

Police said on Thursday that toxicology test results are pending and the crash investigation is ongoing.