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Steuben Deputy Struck by Pickup While Directing Traffic
Saturday, January 11, 2020

FREMONT – Indiana State Police investigated two separate but related serious crashes Thursday morning on SR120 in Steuben County.

Driver fatigue and inattention were contributing factors in both crashes. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries, including a crash where a Steuben County officer was struck by a passing vehicle.

The first crash occurred at approximately 8:45am, where Master Trooper Kody Buell responded to a two vehicle head on crash on SR120 near CR175W. A black 2000 Ford Explorer operated by 39-year-old Fernando Fernandez-Perez of Angola was westbound on SR120 and crossed left of center into the path of an oncoming Freightliner semi-tractor trailer driven by 66-year-old Albert Colten of Stockton, California.

Driver fatigue contributed to the crash. Both vehicles sustained heavy damage and were considered a total loss. Fernandez-Perez sustained minor injuries and was treated and released at the scene by Steuben County EMS personnel. Colten was not injured.

The second crash involved a Steuben County Sheriff’s Department officer, Chief Deputy Michael Meeks, while he was assisting with traffic control duties at the first crash scene. Meeks was out of his patrol when he was struck by a passing 2018 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck operated by 53-year-old Gary Todd Thompson of Middleton, IN.

Chief Deputy Meek sustained minor injury during this incident, was checked out by Steuben County EMS personnel and released from the scene.

Driver inattention was a contributing circumstance in this incident, and Thompson was cited for disregarding a traffic control officer as a result.



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