Woman missed curve before crash that killed 2 kids

By The Associated Press

MISHAWAKA — A northern Indiana woman whose minivan plunged into a retention pond, killing two of her three children on New Year's Eve, missed a curve on an icy road just before that crash, officials said Thursday.

Brooke Natalie Kleven, 31, and her 3-month-old daughter, Hendrix Kleven, both remained in critical condition following Tuesday afternoon's crash, the St. Joseph County Prosecutor's office said.

But the Granger woman's 4-year-old old son, James Kleven, and her 2-year-old daughter, Natalie Kleven, died at a local hospital, prosecutors said. The county coroner has said both children had drowned.

Kleven was driving her minivan with her three children inside when she failed to negotiate a curve, slid off the roadway and went into the pond near a busy strip mall in Mishawaka, just east of South Bend, prosecutors said.

First responders pulled Kleven and the two children who later died from the vehicle after it had been submerged in the water for several minutes. The infant girl who's now in critical condition could not be removed until the vehicle was pulled from the water.

Road conditions were slippery at the time, but the cause of the crash remains under investigation, officials said.

The minivan's plunge into the retention pond drew a crowd of customers from businesses at an adjacent strip mall to the pond's edge, said William Martin, CEO of Impress Jewelry Creations.

“You know, it's busy traffic, that curve is terrible, especially when it is as slippery as it is out today,” he told WNDU-TV. “In a time like that you just go back and think about family."

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