Kokomo — A 21-year-old Sharpsville woman died at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on U.S. 31 near the Tipton-Howard county line, which was one of two serious crashes in Howard County Thursday.
Darian Davis was pronounced dead at the scene of the first wreck at 3:48 a.m. on U.S. 31. according to Indiana State Police. Roughly 12 hours later, five people were injured in a second crash, including two who had to be air-lifted from the scene.
A preliminary investigation of the first wreck, which was conducted by ISP Trooper Wendell Beachy, determined Davis was traveling north on U.S. 31 near 500 South in Howard County when she apparently lost control of the 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee she was driving.
According to a ISP news release, the investigation showed Davis was driving at a high rate of speed when the right-side tires of the Jeep traveled partially off the east side of U.S. 31. The vehicle then flipped at least four times, according to police.
Davis, who police say was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the Jeep onto U.S. 31. She was then struck by a semi-tractor pulling a box trailer, according to the news release.
Witnesses told police a semi-tractor pulling a box trailer had driven through the debris field shortly after the crash. However, the driver of the semi was not identified by police and investigators aren’t sure if the driver was aware that the truck struck Davis.
The investigation indicated that Davis likely died from injuries suffered in the crash and not from being struck by the semi, according to the release.
Then, at 2:23 p.m., the Howard County Sheriff Department received a call for the second crash at the intersection of 600 West and 400 North. When deputies arrived, they found two vehicles in a farm field at the northwest corner of the intersection.
According to a news release from the sheriff department, the crash occurred when Grant Cooper of Kokomo was driving west in a black 2006 Jeep SUV and failed to yield at the intersection.
The Jeep then struck a northbound black 1994 Chevrolet convertible, which was driven by Leon Stiles, according to the news release. The impact sent both vehicles into the farm field, where the convertible came to rest upside down and the Jeep landed on its passenger side. One of the vehicles also apparently struck a nearby utility pole, splintering it into several pieces.
Cooper sustained head injuries in the crash and was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph Hospital, according to the news release. No update on his condition was available.
Stiles and Andrew Williams, a passenger in Stiles’ vehicle, were transported by helicopter to an Indianapolis hospital with unknown injuries, the news release indicated. Two other passengers in the convertible, Jamaal Webb and Derrick Burnett, were taken by ambulance to St. Joseph Hospital. Their conditions and the extent of their injuries were not available.
Kokomo resident John Purnell was driving south on 600 West when he witnessed the crash.
“I saw the SUV flip when I got near the intersection,” Purnell said. “At first I didn’t see the other car.”
Purnell said he saw two of the crash victims crawl out from underneath the convertible while two others were trapped inside.
“They were hurt,” Purnell said of the two people who crawled from under the car. “They both had gashes on their heads.”
The sheriff department was assisted at the scene by Kokomo Police Crash Reconstructionists as well as the Galveston Fire Department, paramedics from St. Joseph, Howard County Emergency Management Department and Indiana State Police.
The two crashes remain under investigation. Anyone with information about the morning crash on U.S. 31 is asked to contact Beachy at ISP at 765-473-6666. Anyone with information regarding the afternoon crash at 600 West and 400 North is asked to contact Capt. Jerry Asher at the sheriff department at 765-456-2020.