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Family shocked, heartbroken after woman is killed when tire flies off truck and hits her vehicle

AUBURN, Ind. (WANE) – An Angola woman was killed in a bizarre crash in Indianapolis Monday. 43-year-old Crystal Emerick died after the wheel of a northbound pickup truck on I-465 flew off and hit her SUV.

Her father-in-law Russell Emerick still can’t believe what happened.

“I’m a Christian man, I’m Catholic, and sometimes God does things that we don’t understand, and I’m really having a hard time trying to understand this,” Russell Emerick said.

It happened as Crystal and a group of friends were heading to Nashville, Tennessee for vacation. Russell Emerick said to make the situation even more bizarre, Crystal was nearly at a stop in traffic and it wasn’t her turn to drive.

“Just as she got stopped all the sudden this tire comes flying over the median on the interstate and it hit her car and I don’t think she ever saw it coming,” Russell said.

Her family said Crystal was a devoted wife and mother. She and her husband met in grade school. “He always said when he saw her, someday he always thought he would marry her,” Russell Emerick said of Crystal’s husband.

Melissa McCoy, Crystal’s sister in law, grew up knowing Crystal. “They were everything to each other, Crystal and my brother, there was never one without the other.”

Crystal’s two children are in college. Her son is a student at IU and her daughter goes to Ball State.

“She’s 20,” McCoy said of Crystal’s daughter. “A young woman. Things her mom will never see or experience in her life.”

But her in-laws want the focus to be on how wonderful Crystal was. She worked more than 20 years at Walmart in Auburn and had a family there through her coworkers and customers. Many of those people talked to 24-Hour News 8’s sister station, WANE about how much she meant to people and said they are all shocked and grieving.

Having worked in the home and garden section, Crystal’s father-in-law said she was an artist through her garden. Her husband is a detective and her loved ones said she made their home the picture-perfect place for a family.

“With my brother’s job, he sees a lot of the worst in the world and she made a wonderful place for him to come home to,” McCoy said.

The driver of the truck cooperated with police and alcohol wasn’t a factor. The four passengers in Emerick’s car ended up with minor injuries and are okay.

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