MIDDLEBURY — A Medflight helicopter transporting a young girl from an accident southwest of Middlebury had to make a precautionary landing on its way to a Fort Wayne hospital Friday morning.
Janell Yoder, 5, of Middlebury, was riding a horse-drawn cart with her mother, Linda Yoder, 29, when it was hit by a sport-utility vehicle at about 9:45 a.m. on C.R. 22 just east of C.R. 31, according to a press release from the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department.
Both vehicles were headed northeast on C.R. 22, toward Middlebury. Janet Dabney, 70, of Goshen, the driver of the SUV, said she did not see the cart because of glare from the sun and rear-ended the cart.
Both passengers were thrown off the cart.
Janell Yoder was being flown to Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne when the pilot smelled something burning in the cockpit, he told the Department of Emergency Management for Noble County.
Michael Newton, director of the Noble County Management Agency, said the helicopter landed in bean field off of C.R. 600 South near Churubusco. The LaOtto Fire Department and an ambulance from Parkview Hospital responded to the scene.
Janell Yoder was taken to the ambulance and driven to Parkview Hospital.
“Everything went really smooth,” he said about the landing. “The pilot did a good job.”
Maggie Scroope, manager of media and community relations department for Beacon Health System, confirmed Medflight made a precautionary landing. Another helicopter is available for use while the other one is checked, Scroope said.
Janell Yoder had possible life-threatening injuries to her head, according to the press release, and was listed in “serious” condition at Parkview Friday afternoon.
Linda Yoder was transported to IU Health Goshen Hospital, with an injury to her head and lower back pain.
Dabney was not injured during the crash.
The horse was unhitched from the cart by the collision and was found a short distance away. It had suffered some cuts.
No citations were issued at the scene. The crash is being investigated by the sheriff’s department’s Crash Investigation Team.