Statewide search underway for semi involved in Jasper Co. fatal hit-and-run

The Jasper County Sheriff's Office is looking for a semi that drove off after running over a car and killing the driver.

Posted: Oct. 11, 2018 10:59 AM
Updated: Oct. 11, 2018 9:13 PM

RENSSELAER, Ind. (WLFI) — The Jasper County Sheriff's Office is looking for a semi that drove off after running over a car and killing a woman. The woman has been identified as 40-year-old Melissa Deno of Rensselaer.

Sheriff Terry Risner said the semi is a white day cab with a white box trailer. Risner believes this semi would only make local, or day runs based on the type. A picture was captured from area surveillance:

According to the Jasper County Sheriff's Office, around 1 p.m. on Wednesday, police received a report of a crash between a car and a semi at the intersection of U.S. 231 and State Road 16. Within minutes, a second call was received that the semi had fled the scene westbound on State Road 16. It was also reported the driver of the car was trapped within the vehicle after it has gone under the semi.

When fire rescue and law enforcement arrived, they determined a white box trailer had failed to stop at the intersection and crashed into a car driven by Deno. The vehicle had gone under the semi, shearing off the roof of Deno's vehicle.

According to officials, Deno suffered serious injuries and was pronounced dead by medical personnel.

Sheriff Risner said the intersection has seen many fatal crashes due to careless drivers.

“Many times, I believe it's caused by driver’s inattention. Many times people either roll or don't take due care at the stop before they proceed,” said Sheriff Risner.

The sheriff said it's often out-of-state drivers who get into accidents at that intersection thinking it's a four-way stop. He shared his shares his condolences to the family.

“We're heartfelt -- goes out to the family on this recent crash and we're praying that we would have no more of these type of situations occur there,” said Sheriff Risner.

Police said they have a few leads on the driver. 

Several law enforcement officers from multiple agencies are looking for the semi and are asking the public for help. If you have any information contact Detective Buschman at 219-866-7344 or by emailing tips@jaspercountypolice.com.

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