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MercyMe silent, crash victim's brother says

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To make a contribution:

A fund has been set up at Fort Financial Credit Union locations under the name of “Barbara Schmucker.” All types of donations are welcome.

Family members can't reach band's blogs, social-networking sites.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 - 10:46 am

The brother of a teenager killed in the Saturday traffic crash with contemporary Christian band MercyMe's tour bus wonders why members of the band haven't responded to his overtures made through social-networking groups.

“We don't even want an apology, because it wasn't their fault that it happened,” said Freeman Schmucker. “We just want a ‘Sorry, is there anything we can do for you?' or a ‘You have our support.' They have made no effort to contact any family involved in this that I'm aware of.”

Seventeen-year-old Barbara Schmucker, of Fort Wayne, was killed just after 1 a.m. Saturday when the Chevrolet Cavalier she was riding in, along with her 19-year-old boyfriend, Dario Boutte, veered into the path of the bus carrying the six-man band in the intersection of Coliseum Boulevard and Lima Road.

The crash critically injured the Cavalier's driver, Kara Klinker, and killed her 35-week-old fetus.

Schmucker's family has made numerous attempts to reach out to MercyMe after the crash through social networking sites MySpace.com and Twitter.com

Freeman Schmucker, Barbara's older brother, said each request has gone unanswered.

“It's very upsetting,” Schmucker said.

MercyMe and its publicist at The Media Collective declined to be interviewed for this story. Band publicist Velvet Kelm said in an e-mail message to the Houston Chronicle, as reported by The Associated Press, the group was to resume touring Monday, with a scheduled appearance at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis on Wednesday.

Freeman Schmucker said his family is financially strapped as it attempts to fund a funeral for Barbara Schmucker, who had no life insurance. The family has established a donation fund at Fort Financial Credit Union locations.

Boutte's family is scattered across Indiana and overseas, Freeman Schmucker said, and his mother, an Indianapolis resident, and father, who is serving in Iraq, are each coming to Fort Wayne, where Dario Boutte lived with his grandmother, to plan services.

Boutte and Schmucker - who played basketball and was an honor student at Northrop High School - dated throughout high school, Freeman Schmucker said, and were both riding with Klinker to pick up Barbara Schmucker's recently impounded car when the crash occurred. Freeman Schmucker said his sister had loaned her car to Klinker's boyfriend, who was then pulled over while driving the vehicle in a traffic stop that apparently led to the car being impounded.

He said Dario Butte was “a very good guy,” and that the three teenagers were all close friends. Kara Klinker remains in critical condition at Parkview Hospital.