Valparaiso Man Identified In Fatal Crash

Thursday morning at 8:39 AM, LaPorte County Sheriff Deputies were summoned to the intersection of SR 8 and CR 875 West, rural Dewey Township, reference a two vehicle personal injury crash, according to police.  

At 8:42 AM, Deputy Greer arrived at the scene and located the involved vehicles west of the aforementioned intersection along SR 8. 

A preliminary investigation shows that a blue 2001 Dodge Ram pickup truck, driven by Joseph F. Barker, 79, of Valparaiso, was traveling southbound on CR 875 West and a white 2021 GMC Penske box truck, driven by Bradley R. Rynberk, 24, of Cedar Lake, Indiana, was traveling westbound on SR 8.  

Rynberk advised that as he approached the intersection, he suddenly saw the pickup truck driven by Barker, but was unable to avoid a crash.  

A witness advised she was traveling westbound on SR 8 behind the GMC box truck.  She explained that she observed the Dodge pickup truck disregard the stop sign on CR 875 West and enter onto SR 8, ultimately failing to yield to the GMC box truck.  

Following the crash, the GMC box truck left the south side of the roadway, struck a utility pole and came to rest on top of a culvert.  

Barker was pronounced dead at the scene.  Rynberk sustained an upper body injury and was airlifted to a regional hospital for treatment.  

Toxicology test results are pending.

Assisting: Captain Dallas Smythe, Sergeant James Lear, Deputy Ken Etchison, Detective Austin Howell, La Porte County EMS, Lutheran Air, La Porte County Coroner’s Office, La Crosse and Kouts Volunteer Fire Departments and John’s Garage

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