Instructor dies in crash with student driver behind wheel

(WLFI Photo)

TIPPECANOE CO., Ind. (WLFI) – The Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Office says a Lafayette driving instructor died after a crash Saturday.

The crash happened around 3:30 p.m. Saturday, near the intersection of U.S. 52 and County Road 975 East.

Deputies say a student driver was headed south on U.S. 52 in a driver’s education vehicle when the student slowed in the left lane with his signal on to make a left turn or possibly a U-turn. A pickup truck, driven by 24-year-old Nicholas Salem of Michigantown, was traveling behind the car and hit the back end of the vehicle.

Deputies believe the impact was due to distracted driving because there was a lack of brake marks at the scene. Investigators also said even though Salem denied texting while driving, time stamps on text messages prove there were correspondences happening during the time of the incident. One message was sent one minute before police were contacted about the crash, according to the crash report.

The student and the instructor, 69-year-old Paul L. Foster of Lafayette, were taken to IU Health Arnett Hospital in Lafayette. Deputies say Foster, a driving instructor at All-Star Driving School, complained of chest pain after the crash.

At the hospital, Foster was found to have fractured ribs and arterial bleeding. Hospital staff was unable to stop the arterial bleeding and Foster later died at the hospital.

The student was treated and released at IU Health for minor injuries.

Salem was cited an infraction.

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