Notre Dame students struck and killed by vehicle near Ironwood and Bulla in South Bend

(Photo supplied/ABC 57)

The St. Joseph County Fatal Alcohol Crash Team, along with police and fire officials were called to the area of Ironwood and Bulla after a vehicle struck three Notre Dame students, then crashed into a home.

The collision happened early Saturday morning, Oct. 24.

Two of the three victims were female, and they both died at the scene. The third was transported to a hospital in critical condition. Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins was at the scene and delivered last rites. The Observer reports that the two young women were first-year students at Notre Dame, and the male is a sophomore. One of the students who died was also struck by a second vehicle. Both drivers involved remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators.

The St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office released the following information:

St. Joseph County –This morning at approximately 4:09 a.m., a Toyota Sienna minivan
was traveling southbound on Ironwood in the outside lane. Ironwood is four lanes, two
lanes in each direction at this location. The Toyota Sienna struck three individuals, and
then made a sharp left and came to rest against the front of a residence in the 54000 block
of Ironwood after making contact with the house. Both female victims were pronounced
deceased at the scene. The male victim, identified as a 19-year-old from the Dominican Republic, was transported to Memorial Hospital and is currently in critical
The deceased females have been positively identified, and their families have been
notified. They are identified as Olivia Laura Rojas, 19, of Bolivia and Valeria Espinel, 19,
of Ecuador. Ms. Rojas, Ms. Espinel, and Mr. Calderon were all students at the University
of Notre Dame, as previously confirmed by the university.
The driver of the Sienna sustained minor injuries and has been identified as a 25-year-old South Bend man. His passenger, a 24-year-old resident of South Bend, was uninjured.
The driver remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators.
After the initial crash and the victims were lying in the roadway, a second vehicle was
driving southbound on Ironwood and struck at least one of the victims. Based on initial
investigation, it appears that this second vehicle, a Chevrolet Impala, struck Valeria
Espinel. The driver of the Impala, a 54-year-old South Bend woman, was uninjured and
remained at the scene.The St. Joseph County Fatal Crash Team was activated, per protocol, to handle
the investigation. This remains an active and ongoing investigation, and toxicology results
are pending. We will release further information to the public as we are able to do so.



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