‘Freak accident:’ Concrete chunk crashes through windshield, driver killed

(Provided Photo/WANE)

AVILLA, Ind. (WANE) – The crash that killed a DeKalb County man Saturday after a piece of concrete came off the trailer of a passing vehicle, went through the windshield of his SUV and struck him is being called a freak accident.

The initial investigation by police on scene didn’t demonstrate the driver of the trailer was showing intent or negligence. According to Deputy Doug Ewell, the driver was a landscaper and had his materials covered in tarp and strapped down properly. “There was definitely nothing, no intent or anything, that anybody was negligent that created this accident.”

Ewell said the driver did what he was supposed to do. He was one of the first people to call police, and then he turned around to come back to try and help, according to Ewell. “He was visibly shaken up at the scene. We spent some time with him to make sure that he was okay to leave the scene and go home.”

How this happened has Ewell still shaking his head. “I’ve been with law enforcement around 20 years total, and I’ve never heard of anything like this happening. I’ve heard of things falling off of bigger trucks but nothing like this. It could happen to any one of us. Just something no one can really prevent. You just never know.”

The driver, identified as Christopher A. Vanattenhoven, 30, of Garrett, was driving east on Baseline Road just before noon when he passed the vehicle hauling the trailer heading west. After the concrete hit the windshield, Vanattenhoven’s SUV went off the road, hit a tree, and came to rest in a field.

A family member of Vanattenhoven said the family is not blaming the driver.

A front seat passenger was taken to a hospital for minor injuries and a juvenile in the back seat was not hurt. Medics pronounced Vanattenhoven dead at the scene.

The case will be forwarded to the prosecutor’s office for review, where it will be decided if there will be any charges or citations.

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