Weather blamed in string of wrecks


The inch of snow that fell overnight coupled with temperatures in the teens resulted in black ice on area roadways and created issues for drivers.

From 6:30 to 11 a.m. Thursday, the Seymour Police Department responded to four wrecks.

The snow began falling Wednesday night. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department responded to six wrecks.

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Indiana State Police also responded to some wrecks, including one around 9:30 a.m. Thursday in the 7600 block of U.S. 31 three miles north of Seymour in which the driver was ejected.

Trooper Tommy Walker said the preliminary investigation shows that Dustin Gay, 18, of Crothersville was driving a two-door Chevrolet Blazer northbound when he slid sideways across the southbound lane and into a ditch on the west side of the road.

The vehicle rolled twice and landed upright in the ditch, and Gay was thrown through the driver’s side window, Walker said. Gay was taken to Schneck Medical Center in Seymour and later flown to IU Health Methodist Hospital with a spinal injury, Walker said. Walker said Gay was not wearing a seat belt.

Gay was found in the ditch by a state highway worker, Walker said. Jackson County Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene. Gay was conscious and alert as he was placed in an ambulance, Walker said.

Airbags on the driver’s side and passenger side of the vehicle were deployed.

Speed was a factor in the wreck, Walker said.

“For him to spin that way, he would have to be going faster than what the weather conditions or the road conditions would allow,” Walker said.

While the sun was shining at the time of the wreck, it wasn’t effective on the slick roadway with temperatures in the middle teens, he said.

“When I got out of my car, I slid on some ice there, so it’s very slick,” he said.

Gay was taken to Schneck Medical Center in Seymour to be checked for internal injuries, Walker said.

Crothersville Junior-Senior High School Principal David Schill said Gay was not a student there. Schill said some students have a rural Crothersville address and go to Jennings County schools. Officials there said they could not confirm if Gay was one of their students.

Jennings County and Seymour schools were closed Thursday because of the weather.

The sheriff department’s first incident was a property-damage wreck at 8:47 p.m. Wednesday in the 7500 block of U.S. 31 North near Seymour. A Chevrolet Tracker was in the ditch. The other property-damage wreck was at 10:02 p.m. in the 4000 block of U.S. 50 East near Seymour.

Four personal-injury wrecks occurred on Interstate 65 between Crothersville and Seymour. No serious injuries were reported.

The first was at the 38-mile marker at 9:25 p.m. Wednesday. A vehicle overturned on an exit ramp at Seymour at 11:23 p.m., while two vehicles were involved in a wreck at the 40-mile marker at 12:17 a.m. Thursday. A vehicle flipped at the 41-mile marker near Uniontown just before 3 a.m.

In Seymour, Police Chief Bill Abbott said the accidents reported were nothing major. He described an incident involving one vehicle at 6:24 a.m. on Burkart Boulevard as a “very minor” personal-injury wreck.

Three property-damage wrecks involved two vehicles — at 6:41 a.m. in the 1200 block of A Avenue North in Freeman Field, at 7:35 a.m. in the 2600 block of East Tipton Street and at 8:33 a.m. in the 1100 block of East Oak Street.

Abbott said that, with the cold temperature early Thursday, it was easy for black ice to form on the road and cause problems.

“Just use caution, reduce their speeds and leave extra distance between the vehicle in front of them, allowing themselves more room to stop and slow down,” he said.

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