CASS COUNTY, Ind. – Two teenagers were killed and six other people were injured in a three-vehicle crash in Cass County on Friday.
Sheriff Randy Pryor said it happened on US 35 between 200 N and 300 N at about 6:30 p.m.
Investigators believe a vehicle slowed down on northbound US 35 because of an animal in the roadway. That’s when a semi-tractor trailer struck the car from the rear, then swerved into the southbound lane while trying to avoid the vehicle.
Sheriff Pryor said a vehicle traveling southbound swerved to avoid the semi, leading that vehicle to go off the road and crash into a field, ejecting two teens who died from their injuries. They have been identified as Anahi Garcia and Faith Dold, both 17 and from Monticello.
Their deaths have left both Cass County and the Monticello community devastated.
“It’s truly easy to blame God or to say God must not be there, but for me…I don’t know how people can get through situations like this without God,” Monticello United Methodist Youth & Adult Pastor Justin Cason said.
Monticello United Methodist Church has been a place many have come to over the last two days to pray together.
“A lot of them are trying to make sense of it. We tell them now is not time to try to figure it out. Now is the time to realize it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be hurt and it’s okay to cry and to live into those emotions,” Pastor Cason said.
The Monticello community is in mourning, but 30 minutes away in Cass County so are they. It’s where the wreck happened at.
“The past few weeks have been a series of a lot tragic deaths involving teenagers and children. you read about accidents and fires, but there’s also been suicides and drug overdoses,” Fisher Chapel Funeral Director Dawn Fisher explained.
Dawn Fisher helps plan funerals for people in Cass County and her son is a Deputy Coroner.
She said the past few weeks have taken a toll on them.
Before that, two teens were killed by a suspected drunk driver.
“We are lucky in all aspects from our first responders, the law enforcement agency, EMT, firefighters, to the last responders, and the funeral directors. We have all gone through the grief with this community,” Fisher said.
She said Cass County stands strong with their neighbors. “That’s one thing about the Midwest. The values and the close knit communities really help people through hard times like this,” Fisher explained.
Both Garcia and Dold were students at Twin Lakes High School.
The school’s Superintendent Michael Galvin gave us a statement.
“The Twin Lakes Family is heartbroken to lose Anahi and Faith in a tragic car accident last night. We are thankful that Miles Ademi, Micah Harker, and Eliana Rodriguez lives were spared. I cannot express the appreciation to our community for the outpouring of support and love to our students. A Youth Community Service will be provided on Sunday, December 23, 2018 at 5:00 P.M. at the Monticello Methodist Church. Please pray for the families and our staff and students as we go through this difficult time. God will provide healing and strength to us.” -Twin Lakes School Corporation Superintendent Michael Galvin”
Pastor Cason said the number one priority right now are the families of the teens and their classmates.
“We’re hoping that we can set them up to find some type of joy with their family. We don’t want them to come away and not be with their family during Christmas. Two families have already lost the abilities to have a happy Christmas. Why would we do that to others,” Pastor Cason said.
Funeral arrangements for the two teens have already been made.
Sunday, Monticello United Methodist will have a Young Community Service.
They will honor the two teens through prayer, worship and a candlelight vigil.
Pastor Cason said Dold was a member of the church.