The Shipshewana man accused of driving the wrong way on U.S. 31 Sunday evening and causing a horrific crash is in the Marshall County Jail being held on a $20,000 cash bond for Criminal Recklessness / Aggressive Driving Resulting in Death.
45-year-old Arturo Mendez Luviano was driving his Dodge Ram pickup truck northbound in the southbound lanes of U.S. 31 just south of the intersection with 11th Road at 8:10 p.m. Sunday, September 10th. He collided with a southbound Honda Accent occupied by two individuals, the driver 24-year-old Jarrod Nichols, and 21-year-old Riley Duerstock.
Officer Hollopeter’s Probable Cause Affidavit states that when he arrived on the scene the Dodge pickup was on its top and engulfed in flames. The occupant, Arturo Mendez Luviano was out of the vehicle. The Honda was in the center grass median and one of the occupants was still trapped inside.
Mendez admitted to officers that he had consumed alcohol before driving and a strong order of alcohol was detected on his breath. He was transported to Memorial Hospital in South Bend for medical attention. Blood test results for his level of intoxication are still pending.
On Monday morning, September 11th Officer Hollopeter was contacted by the Saint Joseph County Coroner’s Office and advised that Riley Duerstock, the front seat female passenger had died from injuries she received in the crash.
Arturo Mendez was discharged from the Emergency Room of Memorial Hospital and taken into custody by officers with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department. He was booked into the county jail on initial charges of Criminal Recklessness/Aggressive Driving Causing Death as a level 5 felony and held on a $20,000 cash bond.
Readers are reminded that charging information supported by an affidavit of probable cause is merely an allegation that a crime has been committed and that there is only probable cause to believe a crime has been committed. They are presumed innocent throughout the proceedings and are entitled to be represented by counsel and entitled to a trial jury at which the State is obligated to provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt before a judgment of guilt may be made.