3-vehicle wreck leaves Jackson County man dead

A three-vehicle wreck Tuesday morning northeast of Seymour left a Jackson County man dead after he was ejected from his vehicle.

Joshua Reed, 25, of Seymour, was driving home from work at NTN Driveshaft Inc. in Walesboro around 8:28 a.m. when his red 2002 Dodge Durango crossed the centerline as he traveled south on U.S. 31, Jackson County Officer Robert Henley said.

Henley said Reed, who was traveling alone, veered across the centerline for an unknown reason, hitting a truck and a semitrailer that were both traveling north in front of the Redding Township Fire Station.

Reed was thrown from the sport utility vehicle, and emergency responders tried to resuscitate him before he was pronounced dead at the scene.

He died from blunt force trauma secondary to the car accident, Jackson County Coroner Roger Wheeler said.

“They took him in the ambulance there, and they worked on him, and they got no response,” said Wheeler, who also is a supervisor with Jackson County Emergency Medical Services.

“His injuries were too severe,” Wheeler said.

Henley, one of the first on the scene, began CPR on Reed immediately and continued it for about five minutes until ambulance personnel arrived. Other passing motorists also stopped to help out.

“There were several Good Samaritans who stopped and even jumped right in to assist,” Henley said. “We have good people in Jackson County who are always willing to lend a hand.”

The drivers of the other two vehicles were not seriously injured and were not taken to the hospital.

Michael Hatfield, 57, of Seymour, was driving a 1999 Chevrolet pickup involved in the wreck, and Curtiss Luenebrink, 52, of Seymour, was following not far behind him in the tractor-trailer, Henley said.

Police said when Reed crossed the centerline in the Durango, it hit the rear of Hatfield’s pickup and also the front end of Luenebrink’s tractor-trailer.

Henley said when he arrived at the crash scene, he reported to dispatch that a vehicle was on fire, but he soon realized what looked like smoke was steam coming from the radiator of the Durango.

That area of U.S. 31 was closed for several hours while emergency crews cleaned up the wreckage. Indiana State Police also responded and reconstructed the wreck.

Indiana Department of Environmental Management and Jackson County Emergency Management Agency officials also were called to the crash scene because a large amount of diesel fuel from the tractor-trailer had spilled into a nearby ditch.

Emergency workers worked throughout the day to contain the spill to the area, Henley said.

The police investigation continues, and Henley said police may never know why Reed’s vehicle veered across the centerline.

County Officer Mark Holt assisted, along with state troopers Tommy Walker, Stephen Wheeles and Jason Hankins, who is an accident reconstructionist.