August 17, 2017-According to a release from Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey, a 6 year old child has succumbed to injuries received in a collission involving a passenger vehicle and a school bus. According to the report from the Coroner, 6 year old Malachi Waiters suffered blunt force trauma as a result of injuries from a motor vehicle accident that occurred at 41t and Calhoun at approximately 8:00 a.m. today. Gary Police have not yet issued a statement but parents of Griffith School Children reported receiving an automated call informing them of the passing of Malachi who was a Ready Elementary School student. Dr. Sharon Johnson-Shirley of the Lake Ridge School Corporation confirmed that a Gary Community School Corporation (GCSC) bus was involved in an accident this morning. The GCSC bus was transporting Lake Ridge students who live outside the district. No injuries were reported to those on the bus according to Dr. Shirley.
According to a statement from Lake County Sheriff’s Police Chief Daniel Murchek, “at approximately 8:00 AM A Lake County Police Officer while on patrol witnessed a personal injury crash at Calhoun and 41st Ave. The crash involved at 2007 Honda Civic and Gary Community School bus.”
“The driver of the Honda Civic disregarded a stop sign at the intersection striking the bus. The driver of the Honda Civic is Christopher Waiters 27 of Merrillville struck the school bus which occupied by 3 students that were treated and released at the scene to their parents.”
Leah Adams, who lives near the incident, stated that her home shook at approximately 7:30 a.m. today. She went outside and saw the white Honda had travelled through her yard, struck the back of a car in her driveway, and came to rest when it struck a utility pole. The distance from the stop sign to the pole is approximately 137 feet according to the Lake County GIS system.
Chief Murchek stated that the Honda Civic was occupied by Waiters and two children who were both transported to area hospitals. Malachi Waiters, age 6, later succumbed to injuries he sustained and was pronounced dead at Methodist Hospital Northlake. The other juvenile passenger was not identified and was transported to Community Hospital with non-life threatening injuiries according to Chief Murchek. According to Leah Adams, the other child appeared younger than 6 years old.
The driver of the vehicle, Christopher Waiters, was wanted on a warrant and also was cited for driving while suspended. Christopher Waiters was transported to Southlake Methodist ER before being transported to the Lake County Jail according to Chief Murchek. Additional charges resulting from this incident are pending. Police state that “the investigation appears alcohol, speed and traffic offenses are contributing factors.” Adams says she was within a few feet of Christopher Waiters and described the man as distraught over losing a child but said she neither smelled alcohol nor detected any indications of intoxication.