Chesterton Tribune

Police making crash notification after double fatal on I94 find three dead in Michigan home

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From the Indiana State Police: This morning, at approximately 1:35 a.m., Indiana State Police responded to a two vehicle crash on Interstate 94 at the 43 mile marker (this is three miles east of the Michigan City exit) in which both drivers were killed.

The preliminary investigation revealed that Michael A. Vanderlinden, 33 of Belleville, MI, was driving a 2005 Chrysler 300 eastbound in the westbound lanes of I-94 when he struck, head on, a 2002 Chevrolet passenger car. The Chevrolet was being driven by Juan P. Nelson, 45 of Portage.

The ongoing investigation revealed that prior to the crash; Vanderlinden had purportedly exited onto I-94 from a rest park on the north side of the interstate and traveled approximately a quarter of a mile before crashing into the Chevrolet. The crash impact ignited a fire which engulfed both vehicles.

Vanderlinden and Nelson were killed in the crash.

This crash still under investigation.

When officers from the Van Buren Township Police Department (Michigan) went to Vanderlinden’s home to make death notification, they purportedly found three deceased persons inside the residence. (See related story below)

Assisting with the crash investigation were the LaPorte Fire/Rescue Department, the LaPorte County Coroner’s Office, the Van Buren Michigan Township Police Department, and Ace Auto Body Towing.


Police seeking crash notification find 3 dead

VAN BUREN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Officers found a woman and her two young sons dead in their suburban Detroit home Thursday when they went there to notify the family of a fiery, fatal crash in Indiana.

Police said they went to the home after being notified of a man's death in a crash near Michigan City, Ind., which is just over the state line. When no one responded they entered through an unlocked door and found the three bodies in separate bedrooms.

Investigators didn't say how the three died but said the case was being investigated as homicide. The boys, ages 4 and 7, were found in their own beds at the home in Wayne County's Van Buren Township, police said.

Their mother was found in an adult bedroom.

"There was no sign of forced entry. No sign of robbery," Van Buren Township Police Capt. Gregory Laurain.

John Sullivan, the coroner in LaPorte County, Ind., identified one of the people killed in the crash as Michael VanDerLinden. Public records showed the 39-year-old VanDerLinden co-owned the Michigan home where the bodies were found with his wife, 34-year-old Linda VanDerLinden.

Officials there weren't confirming the identities of any of the people killed.

They're trying to tie the two together and why Michael was down in Indiana," Sullivan said.

Laurain confirmed that a weapon was found in the home, but didn't indicate what kind. It was too early to speculate about what happened at the home, but police planned to search the burned wreckage of the car involved in the Indiana crash for a possible suicide note or other evidence, he added.

Authorities went through the home about 25 miles west of Detroit, collecting computers and voice messaging equipment. Laurain said the woman who was killed was described as a stay-at-home mother, while the man who died in the crash worked in information technology

Neighbors in the quiet, clean subdivision of Tudor- and Colonial-style homes declined to talk about the family.

Police in Indiana said earlier that two people died about 1:30 a.m. on Interstate 94 in the crash which was caused by a driver going the wrong way. Police said it appeared the driver left a highway rest area going eastbound in the westbound lanes and hit another vehicle head-on, causing a fire that engulfed both vehicles.

VanDerLinden and 45-year-old Juan P. Nelson were pronounced dead at the scene, Sullivan said. Two westbound lanes of I-94 near Michigan City were closed for several hours after the crash.

Police say the circumstances of the crash remained under investigation.


Posted 8/16/2012