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Neighbor recounts Lawrence crash that injured 4 children

LAWRENCE, Ind. (WISH) — Six people — four children and two adults — were hurt in a crash late Tuesday in Lawrence.

Emergency crews were called to the area of 52nd Street and Pendleton Pike around 9:30 p.m for a two vehicle crash.

Lawrence Fire Department PIO Dino Batalis said a minivan heading east on Pendleton Pike crossed the center line and hit a pickup truck going west. Six people in the minivan were injured, police said. The sole occupant of the pickup truck was not hurt.

Police say that the minivan had two adults and three juveniles inside and all had injuries. Another child who was injured was being held by a witness. The two adults were trapped inside the vehicle. They were identified as Robert Valentine III, the driver, and Lanija Clark, the front seat passenger.  Both were wearing seatbelts.

A neighbor told 24-Hour News 8 he was sitting on the couch when he heard the crash.

“All of a sudden I heard a lady passenger scream, ‘Help my baby! Help my baby,’ and that’s when I jumped over the fence right here behind me and right over to the far side of the van where it was crushed. I (saw) the little toddler in the van which it was a horrible sight. The baby was just bleeding all over. I was trying to hold the baby’s hand to comfort it and then I just heard the baby make a few gurgling sounds. He tried to lift his head a couple of times but he couldn’t,” recalled neighbor Carey King.

As of Wednesday morning, one adult and one child were in critical condition.

King said the kids weren’t buckled down into the car seats. King said he also saw a second child in the backseat that was laying down screaming and crying.

“So I ran over to that child to try to comfort it and that’s when law enforcement came and so I ran back around to the van and took the toddler by the hand again and one of the officers lifted the baby’s head up and that’s when I’d seen the baby’s head was split wide open and I just lost it,” said King.

Officer say that van was traveling eastbound on Pendleton Pike from North Post Road. The driver of the pickup truck said he observed the van traveling on Pendelton Pike without the headlights on and suddenly he was unable to avoid the crash.

Several witness told police that they didn’t see headlights on when the mini van crashed.

Police say that a 2-year-old was located in the green minivan rear seat and was not buckled at the time of the crash. A 5-year-old was also in the rear of the van and was also not buckled. A 1-year-old was in a forward facing car seat in the center row of the van. The car seat restraints were removed by first responders. Also a 2-year-old was in the center row behind the passenger and was not buckled in.

King said the area is dangerous and drivers go through the area too fast.

“They drive crazy through here anyway. They really do. Most people that drive through here don’t even drive the speed limit. I’ve noticed that quite a few,” said King.

There is no indication alcohol or drugs were involved in the crash, police said.