Underage, Unpermitted Driver Sent to Hospital in Car Accident

A 15-year-old driver and his 45-year-old passenger were taken to the hospital Monday evening after their vehicle was rear-ended on State Road 331 near 4C Road in Bremen. According to a news release by the Indiana State Police, state police officers and rescue personnel were called to the scene shortly before 5 p.m. for a personal injury accident.

Officials arrived on scene and found a 2000 Plymouth Neon had collided with the rear end of a 1967 Austin Mini Cooper. The purported driver of the northbound Mini Cooper, Theodore Hochstetler, 15 of Bremen, had slowed to make a left-hand turn into a private driveway when the Neon struck the rear of his vehicle.

The driver of the Neon, Rick A. Willard, 52 of Nappanee, reportedly told a witness that he was distracted prior to the impact and didn’t notice the vehicle slow down to turn. Willard was uninjured in the crash.

However, Hochstetler and his passenger, 45-year-old Johnny R. Kuhns of Bremen, were both transported to Memorial Hospital in South Bend to be treated for injuries they sustained in the crash.

An investigation revealed that Hochstetler was driving the vehicle with neither a driver’s license nor permit, and while alcohol or drugs do not appear to be a contributing factor in the crash, it is unknown why the adult passenger was allegedly not operating the vehicle and the unlicensed 15-year-old was reportedly behind the wheel.

The crash investigation is ongoing.