Teen Pickup Truck Driver Ejected and Passenger Killed After Crashing Into Disabled Big Rig

LaGrange County, IN – A teen driver was critically injured and a passenger died on Wednesday afternoon when the pickup truck they were in crashed into the rear of a disabled tractor-trailer.

The deadly accident occurred on the I-80/90 Toll Road at approximately 1:30 p.m.


According to the Indiana State Police (ISP), a Werner big rig operated by 33-year-old Michel Menard, of Crete, IL, became disabled and was parked on the right shoulder of the Toll Road at the westbound 115 mile marker.

A silver 2013 Ford pickup truck driven by 16-year-old old Patrick J. Denison of Gaylord, MI, was traveling westbound when, for unknown reasons, it veered over onto the right shoulder and crashed into the rear of the disabled semi-trailer.

Denison was ejected from the pickup truck and sustained critical injuries.

He was airlifted to Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne and last listed in serious but stable condition.


However, 58-year-old Brian K. Ziemba, a resident of Troy, MI, was a passenger in the pickup truck.

Sadly, Ziemba sustained fatal injuries.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.


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Menard sustained a minor head injury, ISP said.

He was transported to a nearby hospital for evaluation.

Additionally, investigators indicated it is unknown whether Denison and Ziemba were wearing seatbelts due to the extent of the damage to the vehicle.


However their airbags did deploy, ISP said.

Menard was not restrained at the time, as his vehicle was parked.

The crash remains under investigation.



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Comment (3)

  1. It’s obvious, the teenager wasn’t driving the vehicle- he was distracted and not paying attention. Better not charge the trucker, Werner or attempt to sue. Not their fault people can’t stay between the lines.

  2. Playing devil’s advocate here. Yes, it was a 16 y/o driving, but he had a 58 y/o man with him. I am wondering if maybe one of the two had a medical emergency that caused him to veer to the shoulder? If it was all kids in the vehicle I could see them maybe messing around for this to happen, but as it was an adult with him I really have to wonder.


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