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Driver critical after Ind. van crash that killed 7Ind. van driver still critical after crash that killed 7; toll road has history of fatalities
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) ' The driver of a minivan involved in a crash that killed seven members of an extended Ecuadoran family on their way to a funeral remained in critical condition Saturday, and officials upgraded the condition of one of two other people hospitalized with injuries.
Police said Manuel Chimborazo, 30, was driving the minivan packed with 10 people traveling to a funeral Thursday night when it hit a deer and then was crushed from behind by a semi-trailer. South Bend Memorial Hospital continued to list Chimborazo in critical condition.
Another victim, Maria Antonia Yupa, 36, was upgraded to fair condition at South Bend after being listed as serious on Friday. There was no update released for Cayetano Quizhpe, 28, who on Friday was in stable condition at Elkhart General Hospital.
Stage police Sgt. Trent Smith said there was no new information to be released Saturday about the crash on the Indiana Toll Road about 10 miles east of South Bend. Three adults and four children were killed, including Quizphe's 6-week-old son.
The crash occurred on a stretch of road where 20 other people were killed in four accidents between August 2005 and April 2007, including eight people who died when a semi-trailer plowed into stopped traffic near a construction zone.
The group had been traveling from Chicago to the East Coast for a funeral, and police said none of the minivan's occupants were wearing seatbelts. Smith said the infant was in a car seat but had not been buckled in.
The minivan was heading east on the toll road about 8 p.m. Thursday when it hit a deer and stopped or slowed down, authorities said. The semitrailer was going about 65 mph when it hit the van in the highway's eastbound lanes shortly after that.
Both vehicles ended up in the center median, blocking traffic in both directions for several hours.
Those killed included Quizhpe's wife, 21-year-old Maria J. Yupa, and sons, 8-year-old Edwin Quizhpe and 6-week-old Franklin Quizhpe; Maria Antonia Yupa's husband, Pedro Chimborazo, 52, and 15-year-old son, Pedro Chimborazo Yupa; and Manuel Chimborazo's wife, Maria Chimborazo Pinguil, 26, and 8-year-old daughter, Jessica Chimborazo. Police and family members said they were from Ecuador and lived in the Chicago area.
The driver of the semi-trailer ' Jesse Donovan, 24, of Johnston, R.I. ' was released from a hospital after being treated for minor injuries. Police said preliminary tests indicated that he had not been drinking alcohol.
Donovan was an employee of Roehl Transport Inc. of Marshfield, Wis., which owns the truck.
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