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7th Grade Student Dies in Semi and Car Collision in Indianapolis

March 8, 2011 – Indianapolis, Ind. – A 13-year-old girl from Harshman Middle School was killed on March 4 around 4 p.m. when a semitrailer truck crashed into the Oldsmobile she was riding in, IndyStar.com has reported.

Two others suffered injuries in the accident, which occurred in the city’s Westside area at Interstate 70 and Harding Street, according to police. The 13-year-old, Justice Holifield, was pronounced dead on the scene. The driver of the car was a band teacher from her school.

According to a news release from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Holifield was in a 2001 Oldsmobile that was northbound on Harding. The driver, Kyle Bieda, 26, of Indianapolis, turned west to access the I-70 East ramp when the truck plowed into the car.

A girl, 12, and a boy, 13, suffered injuries and were hospitalized. Their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

The driver of the truck, 58-year-old Wallace Wheeler, was identified as a resident of Avon.

Holifield, who was in the seventh grade, and the other two students were accompanying Bieda to the store to buy some items for an event at the school, investigators were told.

At the time of this posting, it was not clear whether the school district allowed teachers to drive students in their personal cars.

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were a total of 1,122 vehicles involved in fatal accidents in Indiana in 2008. Of those vehicles, 128 were large trucks, such as semi-trucks and tractor trailers. That represents 11.4% of the total fatal crash vehicles in Indiana and 3.1% of fatal truck crashes in the United States.