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Huntington man dies in crash

BY Kaitlin Gebby - hpnews@h-ponline.com

MARION — Police have identified the victim of a three-vehicle crash Thursday night as 54-year-old Monty Taylor, of Huntington.

After 7 p.m., Upland Police Department and the Grant County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched to the accident on Ind. 5 near Ind. 22. Taylor was driving a 2004 Chevy Malibu southbound on Ind. 5 when, for unknown reasons, he drifted into the northbound lane and hit a Buick Enclave driven by Tye Leming.

Leming, 36, of Marion, swerved to avoid the car but was hit nearly head on. Behind him, a Chevy S-10 pickup truck heading northbound was also struck by Taylor’s vehicle. The driver, 18-year-old Parker Barrett, suffered non-life threatening head injuries, according to Indiana State Police.

After making contact with the second vehicle, Taylor’s Malibu caught fire and he was unable to escape. State police said the car was “completely engulfed” when first responders arrived on scene.

Grant County Coroner Chris Butche said police had trouble identifying the driver Thursday night due to the severe burns. ISP traced the plates back to a Huntington address where they were able to confirm Taylor’s identity.

Leming and Barrett were transported to Marion General Hospital. Leming complained of leg pain from the accident. Inside the Buick was Josiah Chellis, age 9, who was flown to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne with internal injuries and admitted to the intensive care unit.

An autopsy on Friday determined blunt force trauma as Taylor’s cause of death. Butche said Taylor most likely died on impact.

While police have no suspicion of alcohol consumption, the results of a standard toxicology report will reveal any substance that may have caused the driver to drift into the oncoming lane. Butche said he expects the results in around two weeks.