The names have been released of the five people who died early Wednesday morning in a two-vehicle crash east of Yankton.
According to a press release issued Saturday from the Department of Public Safety, a Yankton city police officer was attempting to stop a 1996 Acura Integra which was traveling east on South Dakota Highway 50. The Integra shut off its headlights and crossed onto the westbound lanes where it collided with a westbound 2010 Nissan Sentra at approximately 1:20 a.m. three miles east of Yankton.
Two Sioux Falls men were in the Acura Integra. Both the driver, 29-year-old Michael Worlie, and the passenger, Joshua Odens, 27, were pronounced dead at the scene. Neither were wearing seatbelts.
Three of the four occupants of the Nissan Sentra also died in the crash. They were the driver, 40-year-old Tawna Lichty-Reineke, and two passengers — Chad Reineke, 43, and Janicka Luschen, 10. All are from Yankton.
The fourth occupant, a 12-year-old female who is also from Yankton, was airlifted to a Sioux Falls hospital where she remains hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. The press release did not identify the survivor.
However, a video posted on social media Sunday showed the girl up and walking in a hospital facility.
Also, a local press release was received Sunday announcing the creation of a Go Fund Me account for Tirany Luschen, identified as the daughter of Tawna Lichty Reineke and Jeff Luschen. The address is https://www.gofundme.com/tragedy-into-triumph-for-tirany
All four occupants of the Sentra were wearing seatbelts, the Department of Public Safety said.
Other details about this incident had not been released as of Sunday night.
South Dakota’s Highway Patrol is investigating the crash. Also responding to the incident were Yankton fire and ambulance crews, and the Yankton County Sheriff’s Office and coroner’s office.
Interim Yankton Police Chief John Harris told the Press & Dakotan Thursday that, as the Highway Patrol conducts its investigation, local personnel are focusing their efforts elsewhere.
“Since they’re doing the investigation, we’re focusing on the impact to the community and our people,” Harris said. “It does have psychological impacts, so we’re looking at those issues.”
He added the department is providing critical incident stress management opportunities for the officers and dispatchers involved and emphasizing services are available to other city responders.