LaGrange Teen Killed In Steuben County Crash
Thursday, March 30, 2023

(SALEM TOWNSHIP) – A LaGrange teen is dead and three other people injured following a two vehicle crash in Steuben County.

The Steuben County Sheriff’s Office was called to the intersection of State Road 327 and County Road 250 South in Salem Township just before 4:30 PM Wednesday. When deputies arrived, they found four individuals trapped inside a silver Ford SUV. Deputies assisted the Stroh and Salem Township Fire Departments in removing the people from the SUV.

The preliminary investigation shows that 56 year old Kim Whipple of Portage, Indiana was driving a semi and pulling a trailer south on State Road 327, approaching the intersection of County Road 250 South.

The SUV was heading west on County Road 250 South, and was being driven by 18 year old Lucas Corber of Fremont. Deputies determined that Corber failed to yield the right of way to Whipple and drove into the path of the semi. Whipple struck the SUV, which then went off the road and came to rest in an open field.

One of the passengers in the SUV, 16 year old Nitika Smith of LaGrange was pronounced dead at the scene. Corber along with 18 year old Hayden Pelletier and 16 year old Evander Pelletier, both of Fremont, were flown from the scene by Samaritan and Lutheran Helicopters to Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne. They are all listed in critical condition.

Whipple was not injured in the crash, which is still being investigated.

Deputies say there is no indication that anyone in the SUV was wearing a seatbelt.

Assisting at the scene were Steuben County EMS, the Angola Police Department, Indiana State Police, the Steuben County Coroner's Office and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.