Collision closes U.S. 50 for hours

The drivers of two tractor-trailers involved in a near head-on collision Tuesday on U.S. 50 nine miles west of Brownstown escaped serious injury, police report.

The wreck, however, left the highway closed for most of the day as emergency crews cleaned up debris and worked to remove both trucks, which were not drivable, police said. The wreck also led to a secondary property-damage wreck involving a car and a truck.

Sheriff Michael Carothers said the first wreck occurred when a semitrailer driven west in the 9000 block of U.S. 50 by Scott Pelfrey, 47, of Warsaw drove across some oil on the road.

That caused Pelfrey to lose control of his semitrailer, which jackknifed and crossed the centerline into the path of an eastbound semitrailer driven by Scott Simkins, 48, of Orleans. Simkins was driving a truck for Singer and Sons Transport LLC of Norman.

Pelfrey’s semitrailer continued along the side of Simkins’ semitrailer before going off the south side of the road, down a hill and into an embankment, Carothers said.

Pelfrey’s foot was trapped beneath the clutch pedal in his truck.

“It took about 45 minutes to free him,” Carothers said. “We could get to him and everything but couldn’t get his foot free. We had to use a Sawzall to cut the clutch pedal off to get him out.”

Pelfrey was treated at the scene by personnel with Jackson County Emergency Medical Services and taken to Schneck Medical Center in Seymour for additional treatment. He eventually was transferred to an Indianapolis hospital.

It was initially thought Pelfrey was transporting hazardous chemicals, but police were able to determine he was transporting soap to a car wash in the Bedford area, Carothers said.

Simkins had some cuts and abrasions but was not taken to a hospital by ambulance, said county Lt. Darin Downs, who investigated the secondary wreck.

That wreck involved a Chevrolet Blazer driven by Betty Hume, 77, of Medora. Hume was slowing down for the first wreck when her vehicle was hit by a truck driven by Leland Wayt, 58, Downs said.

Neither Hume nor Wayt, whose address was not available, were hurt in that wreck.

Firefighters from Owen-Salt Creek Carr townships and Brownstown and Seymour fire departments responded to the initial wreck, reported at 10:16 a.m. Tuesday.

31 Wrecker also was called to the scene and brought a crane to help remove the semitrailers from the scene.