UPDATE: 7 Chicagoans Dead, Including Infant, In Indiana Toll Road Accident

UPDATED 10/28/11 3:30 p.m.

BRISTOL, Ind. (CBS) — A deer is believed to be responsible for a crash on the Indiana Toll Road, which left seven Chicago family members, including an infant, dead.

The crash happened just before 8 p.m. in the eastbound lanes of the toll road between Bristol and Middlebury, Ind., in Elkhart County. Indiana State Police say a 1998 Toyota minivan registered from Chicago might have struck a deer, and come to a stop or slowed down in the driving lane, where the speed limit is 70 mph.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

The minivan was struck from behind by an east bound 2006 Freightliner semi-tractor trailer, state police said.

All ten occupants of the 1998 Toyota Sienna minivan with Illinois plates were family members from three different families — the majority of whom lived in the Chicago area, Indiana State Police Sgt. Trent Smith said. Their addresses were not being disclosed Friday afternoon.

“They were cousins, uncles, nieces, that kind of thing,’’ he said. “A few had passports or identification from Ecuador.’’

Cayetano Quizhpe, 28, remains in “stable” condition at Elkhart General Hospital, but his wife and two sons — Maria J. Yupa, 21, Edwin Quizhpe, 8, and Franklin Quizhpe, 6-weeks — were killed, according to a release from Indiana State Police.

The infant was in a car seat that was not properly belted, according to Indiana State Police Sgt. Trent Smith.

Three members of another family were identified as Pedro Chimborazo, 52, and his son Pedro Chimborazo Yupa, 15, who were both killed.

Maria Antonia Yupa, 36, who is Pedro Chimborazo’s wife and the boy’s mother, is in serious condition at South Bend Memorial Hospital, the release said.

The driver of the minivan, Manual Chimborazo, 30, remains in critical condition at South Bend Memorial Hospital while his wife, 26, Maria Chimborazo Pinguil, and their daughter Jessica Chimborazo, 8 were killed, the release said.

The occupants of the minivan were headed from Chicago to New York, where they were planning to introduce the baby to his grandparents, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The family lived in the Albany Park neighborhood, the newspaper reported.

State police tell CBS affiliate WSBT-TV, South Bend, that the infant who was killed in the crash was in a safety seat, but was not restrained by a seat belt. No one else in the van had a seat belt on either, state police told WSBT.

fatals UPDATE: 7 Chicagoans Dead, Including Infant, In Indiana Toll Road Accident

Among the seven killed in an Indiana Toll Road crash Thursday were (clockwise from left): Maria A. Yupa; Pedro Chimborazo; Pedro Chimborazo Yupa; Maria Chimborazo Pinguil; Jessica Chimborazo. (CBS)

Two people, including the truck driver, were taken to Elkhart General Hospital in Elkhart, Ind. Two others, a man and a woman, were taken by helicopter to South Bend Memorial Hospital in South Bend, state police said.

The truck driver was treated and released from the hospital, and a test for alcohol came back negative, state police said.

Traffic in the area was closed for several hours following the crash.

The truck was registered to Roehl Transport Inc. of Marshfield, Wis., although the truck driver, Jesse F. Donovan, 24, was from Rhode Island, state police said.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report

  • Roberta Waker

    The semi driver was either going too fast or not paying attention if he rear ended the van and killed seven people. I’m sure the State Police will check his log book to find out how long he was on the road and if he took proper breaks or fell asleep at the wheel – there MUST be a reason for such a tragedy. I hope all the survivors are ok and our sympathy goes out to their families.

    • Tom

      @Roberta Walker…hey lay off the truck driver…the driver in the mini-van should have been more of situational awareness…don’t tell me you don’t notice a semi-trailer in your rear view mirror?…goof

    • Jake

      Wait a minute there, Roberta. The headline says the deer was responsible and you are questioning the truck driver. In reality, the driver of the mini-van is soley responsible. You never, ever, ever, stop in the drive lane of an expressway, especially at night. A fully loaded semi does not stop quickly like a smaller vehicle.

      • Roberta Waker

        Jake. First of all, thank you for being so nice in rebutting my comments – I really appreciate that. Yes, the driver of the van should have pulled over to the right or onto the apron, but we don’t know if he didn’t try; if he couldn’t or if the accident happened before he could. Unless there are witnesses, we may never know if he ever had a chance to pull off the road. This was a tragic accident and I hope everyone that survived will be ok no matter who was at fault.

      • Jake

        I always like a good debate, Roberta.

      • RETIRED

        Unfortunately inexperienced drivers stopping in the driving lane on an expressway are killed on a regular basis. Often immigrants and members of various minority groups make this tragic mistake. I attribute this to the fact that most don’t take any formal driver’s education course since they are often older when they obtain their driving privilidges. I am not being racist or profiling any particular group, but have seen this same mistake end tragically too many times. The truck driver is 0 percent at fault. Sorry for those of you that are blaming him but Jake is right on the money here. Please tell all inexperienced drivers about this tragic event so they don’t make the same mistake.

      • Jake

        Well, Roberta, I think my main point is, if the driver of the van had pulled as far to the right as possible, like you are supposed to do on the expressway, they most likely would almost be to New York by now, safe and sound. That one foolish act cost these deaths.

      • Roberta Waker

        Actually it says a deer is BELIEVED to be responsible and the van MIGHT have struck a deer after which it may have slowed down or stopped. Any driver that rear ends someone is 99.9% at fault according to the law. If the van had broken down and the driver didn’t have time or couldn’t pull over approaching drivers are responsible for controlling their vehicles and being able to stop. What if a child wandered onto the road? Would the child be responsible? Hell, no. According to the law, the semi driver should have been in control of his vehicle and he should have been able to stop to avoid an accident, ESPECIALLY with a full load that takes longer to stop. Sorry, guys, the law is the law.

    • Dave

      You might want to wait until you have some facts before you start blaming someone for an accident that killed 7 people.

  • luke

    what are 10 people doing in a mini van? and why wasn’t the child belted into the van? someone wasn’t useing their brain

  • Chrusher

    obviously, it looks like the semi driver is at fault but it really surprises me that a Roehl truck was involved. There will be no drugs, alcohol or bad log books involved because they are not tolerated at Roehl. They have one of the best safety records in the industry. Man I feel so bad for the families involved. What a tragedy….it just makes me sick since it looks like something that could have been avoided.

    • Jake

      @Chrusher, You are completely wrong. One very important leason here, NEVER,EVER,EVER, stop in the drive lane of an expressway, EVER.

      • Roberta Waker

        I’m sure the driver of the van didn’t have a death wish and stopped in the drive lane of the expressway on purpose. As a driver, you are responsible for controlling your vehicle and being able to stop in the event of something unforeseen occurring, like a deer, your vehicle dying out, a flat tire, a child wandering into the street, etc. This was an accident; a very tragic accident; and yes, it could have been avoided. Seat belts might have saved some lives IF they had only been wearing them.

  • Jay Bee

    As soon as I saw the headline I expected that people weren’t using seat belts.
    I am mad at these people. Maybe that’s not right because they’re dead and all, but please. Seat belts are a no-brainer.

    • Roberta Waker

      Amen to that Jay Bee. Seat belts saved family members who were hit by a driver that blew a stop sign while on a cell phone; totalled out a mid-sized van and sent both drivers and one passenger to the hospital with some serious injuries. They DO save lives and should be worn whenever you are in a vehicle.

  • Kevin K

    This is a company truck which, more than likely is not even able to attain the speed limit, due to governing. Sure, he probably should have had more space to avoid the wreck, but at the same time, you DO NOT STOP IN A TRAVEL LANE ON A FREEWAY!!!!! So quick to blame a truck driver, when given the number of people in that van, the van driver had a deathwish anyway. Sorry to say it, but when you overload a vehicle and dont use any restraints, you are asking for something to happen.

    • tj

      I agree with you Kevin

      • Roberta Waker

        I agree that wearing seat belts might have saved more lives. As far as the van, it’s possible that it could have been large enough to hold 10-12 people, but we don’t know for sure. As far as your comment about governing – that’s a myth. I see truck drivers doing 80 and 90 mph on the expressways all the time which means there is no governor on their trucks. Only blame the semi driver because he should have been able to stop; it could have been a child that ran onto the roadway – it DOES happen when vehicles break down, sometimes without warning no matter what lane you’re in.

      • Chrusher

        Roberta, you don’t know what you are talking about. Roehl has a govenor on ALL of their trucks to restrict their speed to 62 MPH….PERIOD. You may see other trucks going 80 – 90 but not Roehl.

  • Gabe

    Rob waker people are dead . Keep your stupid theories and comments to yourself. Let me guess your curious to know if they already have a lawyer. Your stupid for even writing about it. May the victims of this horrible accident R.I.P Shame on you.

  • one

    There are supposed to be lights and signs out that way to alert drivers about deer crossing the road. I take that way because my parents live out in that area. When they are very few lights out that way, except at the entrance/exits, you can’t see a deer crossing the road.

    What everyone has to understand that someone could have been killed even if they stopped or not. I have had friends hurt very badly because the deer went through the windsheld when the hit it.

  • Nancy

    Wait a second everyone! 10 people in a 13 year old minivan is a death wish. Mini vans have 7 seat belts to begin with. I have hit a deer and we pulled off the road. I feel for the truck driver who for the rest of his life will deal with this tragedy! when you have a truck and fully loaded sleeper you can not stop on a dime. Before we judge anyone may we all remember that until we have walked a mile in any of the shoes we should not condem anyone. This family, I have symphathy for becasuse of their loss but a baby in a car seat not strapped in and no one else with seatbelts not even the kids, they might as well of tossed them out of the van while driving because they are idiots.

  • John

    Frankly, whether the van stopped or not , no driver, be it semi or car, are suppose to be following closer then they can stop their vehicle I am a former Roehl driver.

  • Dawn

    Given the time of day this occurred…and the fact the semi rear-ended the van it’s likely the driver of the semi was driving fatigued and/or distracted. We’ll have to wait and see. Log books will be looked at. That’s the good thing. Putting too many people in a van and not using seat belts does not automatically mean the driver of the van was at fault. Stopping in the traffic lane, if he did, also does not mean that a truck driver should not have been able to stop. We have to wait and see. But I’m betting fatigue had some factor in the tragedy.

    • BArector

      The time of day has nothing to do with the driver being fatigued or distracted the first thing DOT is going to look at is his log book and if I`m not mistaken a lot of Roehl trucks have computer logs and the company monitors them every closely and there is no lying on those logs then DOT will look at his cell phone to see if he was on it no charges were filed that tells me this was just what it is a terrible accident and you can bet if there was any problems with either they would have filed charges. People in cars make bad decisions on the roads every day when it comes to there behavior around semis following to close, passing and not leaving enough room when they move back over being on there phones and drifting over to close to the side of the trucks and FYI that can pull you right into the side of the truck, passing and then making a left turn just a short distance up the road , pass right before a construction zone, or pull out in front of a truck because you don`t want to stuck behind a semi all these are recipes for disaster .I experience everyone of these things every time I drive my truck and I have logged over 70,000 miles this year aloan. I just wonder how many of this things you have done this week?

      • mudflap

        well i have loged 6million so far , an still going an yep ur right driver,, ur right , people make me sick to point at the trucker,, i wish we would shut the trucks down for 2 weeks , an see how many will want us back,,,,,


    The truck driver would not have been able to stop and is not at fault at all. Please read my response to Roberta and let’s find a way to educate people to never stop on an expressway for any reason.

  • Mohammed Bin

    As a seasoned reader of these blogs, this is the best debate I have witnessed! I believe this is what they are designed for. Even when Roberta and Retired disagreed, they remained respectful of each other! GREAT !!!!

  • Gillian

    Dawn, why ASSume the driver was tired? A lot of drivers prefer to drive at night and sleep during daylight hours.

  • BArector

    To blame the truck is a rush to judgment we don`t know what really happened the van driver may have past the truck and mover over to soon not leaving enough room for the truck to stop. I drive a truck and deal with this every day ,I also Know for a fact that Reohl has their trucks govern at 62 or 63 max . At 60 mph a truck will travel 2 football fields in 2 seconds. Buy the time your eyes see a problem and your brain reacts it takes on average one second to move your foot from the accelerator to the brake which leaves you one second to stop and that’s just not enough time to stop, and more than likely that’s what happened . I also wonder if a cellphone may have been involved a lot of people on the roads using the phone when they need to be paying attention to what is going on around them trucks and car alike. Thoughts and prayers to those affected. One more thing the driver was not charge with anything which most likely means there was nothing he could have done to prevent this horrible accident from happening sometimes terrible thing happen and there is no one to blame. Please drive safe and remember bad thing happen to good people for no reason.

  • BArector

    Roberta its clear you know nothing about the workings of air brakes they are designed to work better with heavy loads and it take more distance to stop safely when empty the truck is more likely to skid when empty than fully loaded if a lot of pressure is applied, more than likely the van passed the truck and mover over to soon like most people do. You don`t stop to think what might happen if something goes wrong especially at night when visibility is reduced.

  • Leonard' Aucapina Q.

    We dont have to blame to no one in this situations just pray for the familes of their loss; but in the future, drivers should know PLS PLS tell your passenger to use a seatbealts is life. and PLS PLS PLS truck drivers slowdown, I”m a interstate driver too…I always see you guys speeding to much!

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