Portage Police Chief Michael Candiano released a public statement on Monday regarding last week’s six-vehicle crash at the intersection of Willowcreek Road and Lute Road.
Chief Candiano stated the following:
“Sadly, the City of Portage has experienced several tragic and fatal crashes over the last several weeks. While each one had different contributing circumstances and factors, they were all devastating to those involved and affected. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone, whose life has been so drastically changed.
“As most of you are aware, PPD responded to a devastating crash on Tuesday November 8th, 2022 at approximately 5:45pm at the intersection of Willowcreek Road and Lute Road. Sadly, this crash resulted in a fatality with varying degrees of other injuries.
“The Portage Police Department Crash Investigation Team and Crime Scene Team have numerous investigators working this incident. As previously stated, this crash involved 6 vehicles with numerous witnesses and a very large crash scene. Our investigation has involved obtaining witness statements, video footage, examining evidence at the scene, conducting vehicle inspections, etc. Unfortunately, this process has been slowed somewhat by investigating leads and verifying information, which has turned out to be inaccurate. If you have legitimate information regarding this crash, please contact our Crash Investigation Team at 219-762-3122. If you do not have reliable information or you are speculating, we would respectfully request you stop sharing on social media.
“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.
“Since the crash, we have received numerous questions regarding the identity of drivers. There has been speculation on social media we are “withholding” the information for various alleged reasons. However, the fact is this is still an ongoing investigation. As with any crime or potential crime, we do not release names of suspects / participants until the investigation is complete and charges are filed or in the event there is an immediate threat to the community. However, the Porter County Coroner is responsible for the release of information regarding fatalities, which has been done.
“In addition to any possible criminal investigation, this is also a crash investigation and the names of those involved in the crash are listed on the Indiana State Crash Report. This report is available to those drivers, vehicle owners, and their insurance companies. Thus, this information is not being withheld, but it will not be released to the general public until the proper time.
“Unfortunately, within minutes of this tragedy occurring, the streets were lined with onlookers, taking photos and videos, which were posted online. Sadly, incorrect information was often attached to these photos and videos, which reached family members, before responders were even able to do notifications. We do not intend to release any further speculative information as this investigation continues. 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.