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Police continue investigation, await results

Heather VanHoegarden | Tuesday, September 14, 2004

South Bend police said Monday that the investigation of a fatal crash Sunday morning was pending results from a blood-alcohol test on the driver of the car and the reconstruction of the accident.St. Joseph County deputy prosecutor Ken Cotter said he expects to make a decision on whether to file charges later in the week as more information comes to light. No charges were filed as of Monday, Cotter confirmed.Ryan O’Connor, 24, died Sunday at St. Joseph Hospital as a result of injuries sustained in the crash that occurred in the 1800 block of South Bend Avenue at approximately 3:27 a.m., South Bend Police officer William Kraus said in a news release. St. Joseph County deputy coroner Rex Rakow said O’Connor’s cause of death was severe head trauma and that an autopsy will not be performed. Police said O’Connor, recently returned from military service in Iraq, had left a bar with a group of friends to walk to a local restaurant. Several of the group had already crossed South Bend Avenue at Vaness Street when O’Connor and another person stopped on the west side of the street. According to a police statement, a witness said that O’Connor ran across the street for an unknown reason, into the path of a northbound car driven by 19-year old Jackie Miltenberger of South Bend, a sophomore at Saint Mary’s. Kraus said Miltenberger’s car, which had one passenger, was the only one on the road at the time of the crash.”We’ll never know if he saw that car or not,” Kraus said. “There’s no way we’ll ever know.”Kraus said that per protocol, Miltenberger was given a blood alcohol content test at the scene and then taken to the St. Joseph County Jail for another test. Kraus said she was not arrested, but he would not comment on the results of either test. Kraus did not know how fast Miltenberger was going on South Bend Avenue, although he did say the speed limit is 35 miles per hour.According to Kraus, that section of south Bend Avenue is fairly well-lit, but he noted that the street lamp at Vaness intersection was out at the time of the accident.