Four people, including a child, were killed early Saturday in a wrong-way crash in northwest Indiana that also seriously injured three children.
Emergency crews responded to the crash about 1:40 a.m. in the eastbound lanes of the Indiana Toll Road near the Grant Street exit in Gary, according to Indiana State Police.
A Toyota SUV was being driven west in the eastbound lanes without its headlights on, police said. It collided head-on with a Jeep SUV that was traveling in the left lane.
The driver of the Toyota, identified by a family member as 25-year-old Tiara Davis, of Calumet City, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Lake County Coroner’s Office, police said.
The driver of the Jeep, 45-year-old Octavio Chavez-Renovato, of Chicago, also died at the scene. His front seat passenger and wife, 34-year-old Eva Gonzales, and their 14-year-old son were also pronounced after the crash.
The family’s three daughters, who range in age from 7 months old to 11 years old, were seriously injured and initially taken to Methodist Hospital in Gary, according to police. The 10-year-old was later air-lifted to Advocate Christ Medical Center, while the oldest girl and the youngest girl were both flown to Comer Children’s Hospital.
Police believe alcohol may have been a factor in the crash. Toxicology results were pending.
The niece of Chavez-Renovato set up a fundraiser page to help with funeral expenses for both families and to transfer her uncle to Mexico for burial near his family.
“My biggest fear has always been losing someone close to me and it happened,” Jacqueline Flores wrote on the page. “I still can’t believe it. My family is hurting and I can’t do anything about it.”
Flores’ grandparents, who live in Mexico, were unable to come because of health issues and were requesting that Chavez-Renovato be brought home to them, Flores wrote.
“This was so unexpected, we were not prepared,” Flores said, “so I decided to make this go fund me account to take a little weight off their shoulders.”