An Austin man was critically injured Saturday when he lost control of his vehicle on an icy road causing it to crash through an overpass guardrail and fall onto Interstate 65 in southern Jackson County, police said.
The incident occurred as 37-year-old Richart T. Coulter traveled west in a 2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer on County Road 600S, according to a report from an Indiana State Police public information officer.
Sgt. Stephen Wheeles said the initial investigation by Sgt. Brian Wilson indicated Coulter lost control of his vehicle on the ice and it broke through the metal guardrail on the south side of the road before falling into the northbound lanes of I-65 at the 37.5-mile marker. That was shortly after noon.
Coulter’s vehicle then struck a 2014 Toyota sport utility vehicle, driven by Charles G. Jahnke, 56, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, Wheeles said. Jahnke was not injured.
Coulter’s vehicle came to rest on its driver’s side in the middle of the northbound lanes of I-65, while Jahnke’s vehicle came to rest on the shoulder of I-65, he said.
Personnel with Crothersville-Vernon Township Fire Department had to extricate Coulter from his vehicle before he could be transferred by medical personnel with Jackson County Emergency Medical Services to a hospital in Indianapolis, Wheeles said.
The roadway surface condition is believed to have been a factor in the crash, which remains under investigation, Wheeles said. Alcohol and drugs are not believed to be factors in the crash.
The northbound lanes of I-65 were shut down for nearly two hours for the investigation and cleanup, Wheeles said. A bridge inspector with the Indiana Department of Transportation was called to the scene to inspect the overpass before the road was reopened.
The Indiana State Police was assisted by officers with the Crothersville and Jackson County Sheriff’s departments and the Indiana Department of Transportation.