LIGONIER, Ind. (WPTA21) – Three members of a Noble County family died on Monday in a single-vehicle accident that sent their car into a frigid river.
The Noble County Sheriff’s Department received a call around 10 a.m. reporting the incident. The caller said a vehicle had gone into the Elkhart River near County Road 700 West and Ball Road in Ligonier.
Emergency crews located a white Toyota passenger car upside down and completely submerged in the river.
Police say 50-year-old J.J. Reyes was driving the car with his two daughters,15-year-old Zulia Reyes and 13-year-old Valeria Reyes, as passengers. Investigators believe he lost control of the vehicle at a curve, sending it off the road, across a ditch and into the water.
The car flipped and was submerged by the time help arrived.
Preliminary indicators show excessive speed for the conditions contributed to the accident.
Zulia Reyes was a sophomore at West Noble High School and Valeria Reyes was an 8th grade student at West Noble Middle School. Superintendent Galen Mast says the girls were both honor roll students, and were loved by everyone.
“In times like this everyone comes together, and that’s our word, is togetherness in our community. Everyone comes around to support the families, support the school and those that are dealing with this loss at this time,” said Superintendent Galen Mast.
West Noble High School administrators offered their sympathies and said grief counselors would be available to speak with Zulia’s classmates.
The crash remains under investigation by the Noble County Sheriff Department and Conservation Officers from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.