Video: Deadly crash

updated 10/22/2007 4:47:00 AM ET 2007-10-22T08:47:00

Fifty miles from the Amish community that was home to at least some of its passengers, the van lay overturned on the highway with its roof shorn away. Three children and two adults were dead and 11 more injured, victims of a highway tragedy that left many questions unanswered.

Police said no other vehicles were involved Sunday when the southbound van veered out of control on Interstate 69, entered a grassy median and overturned, coming to rest in the northbound lanes.

It was not clear at first how many people had been riding in the van, as survivors gave conflicting counts of 15, 16 or 17 passengers, Indiana State Police Sgt. Rod Russell said. Police and other rescuers searched for additional injured people until it was clear all people in the van were accounted for.

“It’s controlled chaos, is what it is, when you have a situation like this,” with ejections and multiple victims, Russell said.

Victims from further afield?
At least some of the victims hailed from an Amish community in the Fort Wayne area, Russell said. Authorities were trying to verify whether some victims came from other Amish communities across Indiana.

“We do believe that some were Amish,” Russell said.

Amish people generally shun modern conveniences but sometimes enlist non-Amish as drivers.

Traffic in both directions was stopped as authorities used the highway to land medical helicopters. Northbound lanes of I-69 did not reopen until more than four hours after the crash. Southbound lanes reopened about two hours after the crash.

The crash occurred about 20 miles from the site of an April 2006 collision between a Taylor University van and a semitrailer rig that killed four students and a university employee.

The crash resulted in widespread attention after an identity mixup in which an injured student turned out to be a woman originally believed to have died in the accident.

In April, four Amish riding in a pickup were among eight people killed in a crash on the Indiana Toll Road.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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