RILEY, Ind. – The Vigo County Sheriff’s Office identified three Indiana State University students who died in a weekend crash in Riley.
The Vigo County Sheriff’s Office said the deceased were 18-year-old Christian Eubanks of Waukegan, Illinois; 19-year-old Jayden Musili of Fort Wayne; and 19-year-old Caleb VanHooser of Liberty Township, Ohio.
Two other passengers were transported to a hospital with serious injuries after being pulled from the vehicle. They are identified as 20-year-old Omarian Dixon of Lafayette and 19-year-old John Moore of Wheaton, Illinois, according to police.
Dixon and Moore are out of intensive care but remain in serious condition.
Four of the victims are part of ISU’s football team, according to the university. ISU said Musili was the only victim who wasn’t on the team.
Head football coach Curt Mallory called the crash a “terrible day for Indiana State football.”
The crash happened around 1:34 a.m. Sunday on State Road 46. Investigators said it appeared the car, a 2008 Toyota Camry, left the road and slammed into a tree before catching fire.
“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all involved,” said Vigo County Sheriff John Plasse in a statement.
“This is a terrible tragedy,” said ISU President Dr. Deborah J. Curtis. “As we are waiting on additional details from authorities investigating this accident, our hearts go out to the families and friends of the students involved.”
The football team didn’t practice Monday. Student-athletes from multiple sports gathered Sunday night at Memorial Stadium to mourn the loss of their classmates and show their support for the football program.
Counseling services are available for students, faculty, and staff at the Student Counseling Center.
Further investigation into the crash, the county sheriff revealed Tuesday, showed that the students were coming back from a house party near Indiana University Bloomington and that one victim told police everyone had been drinking.
One passenger told troopers that the car they were in was going 90 mph at the time of the crash. There was heavy rain on the road when the crash happened, police said, with 4 inches of standing rainwater covering up the car’s tracks.
A witness on the scene told troopers that he was driving east on SR-46 and that it was hard to see through the downpour. The witness said that he heard a loud noise and then saw a “very bright flash that seemed fake” as he came around the corner.
Police said the witness then saw the car had crashed into a tree and caught fire. He got out of his car and pulled Dixon out of the car, then knocked on a truck’s door and asked the driver for help getting the others out of the wreckage.
Another victim who was hanging out of a window was dragged away from the fire by the two bystanders. The witness police spoke with said he thought that everyone was out of the car at that point, but then heard “lots of screaming” and went back to the car.
The Vigo County Deputy Coroner came to the scene, police said, and called a tow company to help get the other three occupants out of the Camry. The tow company took possession of the car while the coroner took possession of the three dead occupants, police said.