Police revise death toll from I-69 crash
Hamilton County - Police say that the person reported as the third fatality in Tuesday's chain reaction crash on I-69 is in fact in critical condition at a local hospital.
The 30+ vehicle crash, which began at around 9:45 am in the southbound lanes two miles south of SR 238, tied up traffic for 12 hours on I-69 in Hamilton County. Dustin Goettman, 27, and Ryan Phillips, 28, both of Anderson, were killed in the crash and several others were injured.
Because so many different police agencies were involved, it was initially reported that three people were killed. However, police now say that the third person who was reported as deceased, but not identified by name by the Indiana State Police, is in fact alive and in critical condition at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.
That person is now being identified as Donald E. Hayden, 61, of Tecumseh, Michigan. His family has been notified.
Investigators say the chain reaction accident started with a car rear-ending a Fishers Fire Department truck.
Police say specific information relating to the cause of this crash remains under investigation. Complex fatal crashes involving multiple vehicles can take weeks or months to reconstruct. Preliminary investigation leads investigators to believe existing road and weather conditions coupled with vehicles traveling at speeds to fast for prevailing conditions are contributing factors to this crash.
I-69 South closed after fatal crash
Hazardous weather conditions blamed for high accident rate
More than 120 cars were involved in accidents on I-69 South between mile-marker 5 and 34 Tuesday.
Lt. Clint Bundy from the Pendleton State Police Department said at least 30 cars were involved in a pile-up near mile marker 8, resulting in two fatalities. I-69 closed at Exit 10 for more than seven hours Tuesday to deal with the accident.
The Redkey District of Indiana State Police reported multiple crashes involving 18 vehicles near mile marker 23.
Another pile-up near I-69 South mile marker 45 also involved at least 30 cars, with no fatalities, Bundy said.
Bundy said hazardous winter weather conditions, combined with careless driving, led to the high rate of accidents.
Gene Burton, director of public safety at Ball State, said campus police reported three accidents Tuesday. The total number of accidents from last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday was four. Burton said the high rate of accidents Tuesday in comparison to last week could be because people were caught off guard by the weather.
The National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory in affect until 7 p.m., Tuesday, with northwest winds of up to 25 miles per hour. The windchill was predicted to drop between -5 and -12 degrees overnight.
Kevin Kenyon, associate vice president of facilities planning & management, said campus crews haven't had any problem getting the snow cleaned off walkways with brooms. The only concern is dealing with drifting snow and overnight freezing of melting snow. Staff will be salting early in the morning to combat this, Kenyon said.
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