LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - A 73-year-old Lafayette woman was killed in her front yard Wednesday evening when a vehicle drove off the road and through her flower bed on the city's south side. Another bystander and a second vehicle were also hit.
"A big boom, it made a lot of noise," said neighbor and witness John Mitchell.
Mitchell heard the end of the incident as he sat on his front porch shortly after 6 p.m.
He watched as a green SUV came to rest against a fire hydrant at the intersection of Commanche Trail and Brady Lane on Lafayette's south side.
Investigators say, moments earlier, Elizabeth Wesner, 21, drove through a flower bed for a home on 3100 block of Commanche, hitting two neighbors, Donna Ubelhor, 73, and James Brown, 70.
"That lady does that all the time, working in her yard, keeping her yard done up real nice. She was out there working it and the guy across the street was talking to her and this happened," says Mitchell.
After hitting Ubelhor and Brown, police say Wesner hit a trailer carrying landscaping equipment being towed by a pickup truck, knocking off a wheelbarrow in the intersection and smashing up the metal container on the side of the trailer.
That's the boom Mitchell heard. But he didn't know at the time that his neighbors had already been run over.
Bradley Richardson, another witness ran around the corner to make sure the pickup didn't drive off. That's when he found his friend.
"It looked like she had been trampled underneath the vehicle. We were talking to her, trying to get a pulse, but there's wasn't a pulse," says Richardson.
According to the Lafayette Metro Fatal Alcohol Crash Team investigating the incident, Ubelhor was in her yard, Brown was standing on the sidewalk.
"It's like any moment can be your last. You never know when something like this can happen to you," said Richardson.
Neighbors say the "For sale" sign was out front because Ubelhor's children had talked their mother into building a new home out in the country.
"We were going to lose her, but didn't want to lose her this way," says Mitchell.
Brown was taken to an area hospital where he was stable Wednesday night.
The driver of the pickup, Jesus Molina, was not injured.
Investigators say drugs are a possible factor in the crash. Wesner was arrested at 12:38 a.m. Thursday. She is facing preliminary charges of operating a motor vehicle with a schedule I or II substance, leaving the scene of an accident causing death and possession of a schedule III controlled substance. She is being held at the Tippecanoe County Jail on a $25,000 total bond.
Brady Lane was reopened to traffic shortly after 9:30 p.m.
The crash remains under investigation. Anyone with information about the wreck is asked to call Lafayette Police Officer Will Carpenter at (765) 807-1200.
All roads were reopened to traffic by 10:15 Wednesday night.
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