‘Well-liked’ teen killed when car hits utility pole

WELLS COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) The mother of a teenager who was killed in a traffic crash Wednesday night said dense fog was to blame.

Shelley Monticue said her daughter, 17-year-old Michaela Adam of Markle, was on her way home from work when she swerved off the road and crashed into a pole.

“I was out looking for her because she wasn’t home when she was suppose to be,” she said. “I came back and they told me what happened and I just started screaming that they were lying to me.”

Police and medics were called around 8:30 p.m. to U.S. 224 just west of C.R. 300 West on a report of vehicle crash there. Crews arrived to find a 1997 Chrysler Concorde crashed into a utility pole, heavily damaged, with its driver dead inside.

“She loved that car,” said Monticue. “She was the only one of friends who had a car big enough to fit her ‘entire squad’ as she would call it.”

In a Wells County Sheriff’s Department news release, investigators said the Chrysler was headed west on U.S. 224 when it left the north side of the roadway in a slight curve and struck a utility pole.

Her mother said because of the fog, she couldn’t see a curve in the road. Adam was found dead in the vehicle, the sheriff’s department said. Monticue was told her daughter died instantly.

“I can’t even imagine that she’s gone,” said Monticue. “It seems so weird like she’s staying at a friends house or something.”

Adam just got a job at Pizza Hut. Wednesday was her second day of work.

“I keep telling myself that she wasn’t mine to begin with,” said Monticue. “She’s God’s and He wanted her back.”

She said her daughter was a typical teenager. She played the french horn for Norwell High’s marching band and was recently inducted in the National Honor Society with a 3.9 GPA.

“She was a little quirky,” she said. “Probably your typical band kid but she was definitely quirky.”

They planned to visit colleges in Oregon next month. Instead, her family is planning a funeral. 

Monticue said they do have her cell phone and after looking through text messages, they don’t believe she was texting and driving.

“Even if your kid is a safe driver, it can happen,” said Monticue. “Hug them while you have them.”

Mark Misch, Principal of Norwell High school, said Adam’s death has brought a very somber mood to the building. School administrators shared the news with students Thursday. They started with the band members, then the rest of the students.

Extra grief counselors were on hand, but Misch said that did not make sharing the news of her death any easier.

“We find the strength to just be strong for the kids,” said Misch. “I was the one who shared it with the band kids. I think it was a little extra tough than normal just because of how close they were to her.”

“Band is a really tight-knit group and we’re just a big family,” said Cory Kelley, who is the Band Director. “We’re crying together right now. We do everything together.”

Scott Mills, superintendent of Northern Wells Community Schools, said the district was mourning the loss of Michaela, a junior at Norwell High School.

“Norwell High School and the Northern Wells community is deeply saddened and mourning the loss of Michaela Adam, junior, following a tragic automobile accident last night,” said Mills in an email to NewsChannel 15.

“Michaela was an excellent student, well-liked by her peers, and active in band and music at NHS. School officials have coordinated counselors to be available to help students and staff through this very difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with Michaela’s family and friends as they grieve the loss of their loved one.”

The impact of the crash snapped the utility pole, which fell across the road and cut power to the area. The pole was replaced and the power was restored a short time later.

The crash is still under investigation.