Passenger Dies, Driver Arrested After ORV Crash In Kosciusko

(KOSCIUSKO) – A passenger involved in an off the road vehicle accident died Saturday night from his injuries.

The passenger has been identified at 45-year-old Jason Toller, of Pierceton, died from blunt force trauma.

According to Indiana Conservation officers, the accident happened Saturday on EMS R4 Lane, just east of Ridinger Lake in Kosciusko County.

Kosciusko County Central Dispatch received a 911 call just after 7:40 p.m. reporting the crash and injuries.

It was reported that the passenger on the ORV was unresponsive and CPR was being administered by a passerby.  It was also reported that the driver fled the scene on the ORV.

Conservation officers report a white 2014 Polaris Ranger was being operated by 39-year-old Joel Zehner, on EMS R4 Lane when the crash occurred.  Toller fell out of the ORV as it made a turn. The ORV rolled to its side pinning Toller. 

A passerby assisted in rolling the ORV over and began CPR on the unresponsive male.  He was then airlifted to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne where he died.

Zehner fled the scene on the wrecked ORV.  Whitley County Sheriff’s Deputies located the abandoned ORV 3 miles from the crash scene at Deniston Natural Resource Area on Old State Road 30 at the Kosciusko and Whitley County Line. 

A Whitley County K9 unit tracked the driver across the property to a campsite where Zehner displayed a firearm.  Around 9:15 p.m. officers on the scene were able to talk Zehner into putting the firearm down and was then taken into custody.

Units assisting Indiana Conservation Officers at the scene include Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office, Whitley County Sheriff’s Department, Pierceton Police Department, North Webster Police Department, Kosciusko County Fatal Crash Team, Warsaw Medic 7, Milford Medic 1, Lutheran Air