Driver dies after three-vehicle accident east of Columbus

A Columbus man died and two Seymour residents were injured after a head-on collision at State Road 46 near County Road 250E in Bartholomew County.

Bartholomew County Sheriff’s deputies said Rex Money, 54, of Columbus, was driving a 1998 Buick on State Road 46 heading towards Columbus near the intersection about 11:38 a.m. Thursday when he attempted to avoid a collision with a small red truck with an unidentified driver.

Instead of colliding with the truck, Money’s car instead collided with another car on State Road 46 heading in the opposite direction head-on, deputies said.

Money, who had to be extricated from his vehicle, did not die from injuries sustained in the accident, Bartholomew County Coroner Larry Fisher said. His cause of death is being attributed to a heart condition which was exacerbated by the accident, Fisher said.

Investigators said Money’s vehicle collided with a 2006 Pontiac driven by Cassandra Smith, 25, of Brownstown, who also had to be extricated from her vehicle and was transported to Columbus Regional Hospital. Hospital officials said Thursday night she had been admitted to the hospital, but her condition was not available.

A passenger in Smith’s vehicle, Amanda Strode, 26, of Seymour, was flown to an unidentified Indianapolis hospital by Lifeline helicopter, deputies said. Another passenger, William Decker, 19, of Brownstown, was not injured, deputies said.

Investigators have obtained video footage from a nearby business that shows the red truck driving left of center on State Road 46 near the intersection, causing Money’s car to enter the path of Smith’s vehicle, deputies said.

It is unknown whether the red truck made contact with Money’s vehicle in the collision, but sheriff’s deputies are looking for the driver to obtain more information.

If anyone has information about who was driving the red truck, they are asked to call Deputy Kevin Abner at 812-379-1650 or call the sheriff’s department tipline at 812-379-1712. Emails with information may be sent to [email protected].

“This is very serious, we need the community’s help, and we need to know who owns this faded red vehicle,” Sheriff Matt Myers said.