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Published on October 4, 2020 3:58 AM

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Two children killed in Blackford County crash
HARTFORD CITY, Ind. — Two children were killed Friday night in a head-on collision on Ind. 18 in northern Blackford County.

Blackford County Coroner Zach Crouch late Friday confirmed the children — later identified as Justin Cook, 6, and Raelynn Cook, 5 — were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, about a mile east of Ind. 3's intersection with Ind. 18.

The children were passengers in an eastbound pickup truck — driven by their father, Robert A. Cook, 37, Montpelier — that reportedly crossed the center line on the state highway and collided with a westbound semi-tractor trailer.

After the collision, the pickup truck caught on fire. Chief Deputy Jim Heflin and neighbors extinguished the blaze with fire extinguishers, according to a new release.

Robert Cook was seriously injured, and was flown by medical helicopter to a Fort Wayne hospital. The driver of the semi — Jason Long, 43, Corgan Station, Pa. — was not injured.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Authorities said Robert Cook's pickup truck had earlier crossed the center line and nearly collided with a passenger car before it traveled into the path of the semi.

Autopsies were conducted Saturday at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie. Crouch said the children — whose mother lives in Muncie — died as ...