Juan Nelson, Michael Van Der Linden | I-94 crash leaves 2 dead - FOX 32 News Chicago

Fiery crash on westbound I-94 kills both drivers, family found stabbed to death

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Juan Nelson Juan Nelson
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Michael Vanderlinden of Belleville, Michigan was driving the wrong way when he struck Juan Nelson from Portage, Indiana. That wrong way crash near Michigan City, Indiana led police to a triple murder scene at Vanderlinden's home where his wife and children were found dead.

It was just after 1:30am when 38 year old Michael Vanderlinden left an Indiana rest stop and headed the wrong direction - eastbound on Interstate-94 West. Less than a mile later, at full speed, his Chrysler collided head on with 45 year old Juan Nelson's Chevy. In seconds both cars became engulfed in flames - the two men were pronounced dead at the scene.

When police went to Vanderlinden's Michigan home to notify family members of his death, they made a horrifying discovery.

"The front door was unlocked, we went in and at that point our officers found three bodies that was the mother and the two children," said Captain Greg Laurain with the Van Buren Township Police.

Vanderlinden's wife, Linda, and their two sons, ages 4 and 7 years old were reportedly stabbed to death.

Investigators say Michael Vanderlinden is a person of interest.

Fox Chicago News has learned Vanderlinden's wife called police a year ago reporting her husband's failed suicide attempt.

"Hi, my husband is taking (inaudible) sleeping pills and (inaudible) said to call you to help him get to the hospital," said Linda Vanderlinden on a call to 9-1-1.

Those close to Juan Nelson describe a church going father and friend.

"He was a family man who went to church in Merriville...

Young son that was in high school here and then they had a young daughter... Real nice guy, real nice guy," said Don Whitworth.

Nelson was a hard-working husband who worked at the U.S. Steel Corporation.

Neighbors say he was likely traveling to or from his job when his life abruptly took a devastating and deadly turn.

Vanderlinden to the triple murder scene.

Fox Chicago News has learned a weapon was found at Vanderlinden's home in Michigan.

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