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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, July 15, 2017 1:00 am

Crashes kill 2 in Allen, Whitley counties

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

Two people died in separate traffic crashes in Allen and Whitley counties Friday, officials said.

Erik S. Mollberg, who died Friday afternoon after his motorcycle was struck by a van at Leesburg and Rapp roads that morning, was well-known in local public access television.

In the second crash, Darrell L. Jeffrey, 55, of Allen County, died around 3:20 p.m. on U.S. 30 between County Line Road and County Road 700 East in Whitley County, according to the Indiana State Police. Two others were injured. 

U.S. 30 westbound was closed between those roads for about 21/2 hours.

John W. Stroup, 70, was driving east on U.S. 30 and began turning north onto 700 East when he struck Jeffrey's westbound van, police said. The broadside caused the van to roll over. One passenger, Richard Falk, 62, of Ossian, was ejected. He was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. Another passenger, Lovis Ort, 72, of Fort Wayne, received non-life threatening injuries, police said.

The crash remains under investigation.

Mollberg, a 57-year-old resident of Columbia City, was the assistant manager at Access Fort Wayne, the organization that runs the city's cable access channels, according to a 2007 Journal Gazette story. He had worked for Access Fort Wayne and the Allen County Public Library for more than 30 years.

Mollberg, who was wearing a helmet, died of blunt force trauma. He was Allen County's 22nd traffic fatality of the year, according to the Allen County coroner.

“They built me here,” Mollberg said in the 2007 article, when asked why he worked for the library and Access Fort Wayne. “They offered me the job. I'd been working for a production company in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and I moved here to save money. I was planning on moving to California to become an actor.”

Mollberg was also the station manager for WELT-FM 95.7 community radio, a non-commercial, listener-sponsored, member-controlled community radio station for Allen County that debuted last year. 

Greta Southard, director of the Allen County Public Library, said Mollberg's death was a “huge loss to the organization.

“He was a beloved employee. His friends, family and co-workers will miss him,” Southard said. 

jduffy@jg.net