Small town tries to come to grips with fatal crash that claims lives of police officer, aspiring teacher

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LIGONIER, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Fatal traffic accidents can cause tremendous heartache.

The Noble County community of Ligonier felt the pain this week.

A deadly crash took the lives of a young married couple, leaving a hole at a Ligonier elementary school and the police department there.

22-year old Ethan Kiser, a Ligonier police officer and 21-year old Shawna Kiser, were married back in August.

Like so many newlyweds, they had big plans for what life had waiting.

A head on crash Monday killed the couple and devastated family and friends.

“Shawna was born to teach,” said West Noble Primary School Principal Brian Shepherd.

Shawna Kiser had worked at the school in Ligonier, and was getting a degree to launch a career as a public school teacher.

She was close friends with Shepherd’s daughter.

He had a bond with Kiser too.

“For me personally, she spent a lot of time at my house, like I said, I coached her playing basketball since second, third grade. So we went everywhere together, so it’s tough,” Shepherd said.

The deadly crash happened on County Road 200 North in a rural area near Cromwell.

The roads were slick when Officer Kiser, driving his personal vehicle, lost control and crossed the center line, striking an SUV coming the opposite direction.

The impact was right in the front passenger side where his wife was sitting.

The driver of the SUV suffered minor injuries, but the Kisers died at the scene.

“Just an absolute tragedy,” said Ligonier Police Chief Bryan Shearer.

The loss doubly painful for him.

He lost an officer and Shawna Kiser was his niece.

Ethan Kiser had done his first ride along with the department as a 15-year old, who at the time didn’t even have his driver’s license.

He recently completed training at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy and was on track to become a full-time officer.

“When they weren’t working they were together. So at the end of the day, none of us wanted to see them go, but they went together,” Shearer said.

The families of the couple provided a statement, that read, “Our hearts have been shattered into a thousand pieces, and broken beyond words. We are only held together by the hope that we will someday see Ethan and Shawna again. God is the only one who sees the end from our beginnings, and He is the only one who knows why. Our families are grateful for the outpouring of love and support from our friends, family, the entire community, and people we have never met. While our lives will never be the same without them, we are comforted in knowing that Shawna and Ethan will never, ever be apart.”

Click on the link for more information about a GoFundMe account set up to help with funeral expenses for the families.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer

Follow Jeff on Twitter at JneumeyerNews

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