02/22/12 Tuesday morning the Indiana State Police responded to a personal injury crash that occurred around 11:30 a.m. at the intersection of US 31 and US 6 in La Paz.  The crash sent one man to the hospital by helicopter.

     Preliminary police reports indicate that the driver of an east bound Ford pickup truck, Leroy Piper, 82, of Valparaiso, drove through a red light at the intersection on US 6 and US 31, and into the path of a semi tractor.  The Volvo semi tractor was being driven by John Drummond, 60, of Mishawaka.  According to witnesses Drummond was traveling west on US 6 attempting to turn south on a green arrow onto US 31 when Piper ran a red light and struck the passenger’s side of Drummond’s semi.

    Piper had to be extricated from his vehicle by rescue personnel before he was airlifted to Memorial Hospital in South Bend for his injuries.  Piper sustained lacerations to his head and arms but was last listed in stable condition.   LaPaz-North Township Fire Captain Matt Haskins said Piper was alert, conscious and talking when he was transported to the helicopter.  Drummond was not injured in the crash.

     “There were six to seven cattle inside his hauler that all seemed to be standing upright and unharmed in the crash,” Haskins said, adding that the truck caught fire after impact. Haskins was nearby when the crash happened, and upon hearing it and seeing smoke, he immediately alerted dispatch and Medflight.

  The state police were assisted on the scene by the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, La Paz Fire and EMS and Plymouth EMS.

Photos  provided by our news partners at the Pilot.