Emergency personnel rushed to a second fatality accident on Wednesday afternoon, June 13, east of Austin on State Road 256. Callers reported a head-on collision between a gray 2007 Ford and a red Chevy Colorado pick-up truck just before 3:30 p.m. The wreck occurred several hundred feet past Austin Cemetery in a flat, clear stretch of the state road.
For an unknown reason, the car, driven westbound by Eleanor D. Morgan, 76, Seymour, crossed into the eastbound lane, where Joyce Finley Turner, 81, Austin, was approaching in her red pickup. Their meeting was horrific. The front ends of both vehicles crumpled, and, though airbags activated, the women’s injuries were so severe that each died shortly after the crash.
Morgan, advised Sgt. Jerry Goodin of the Sellersburg post of the Indiana State Police, had been wearing her seatbelt; Turner had not.
Five ISP troopers arrived as did Chief Deputy Don Campbell, who had covered the earlier fatality, and Deputy Jeremy Arnold. Both men live near the scene. Also at the site were Jennings Township volunteer firemen, who used the Jaws of Life to remove one victim and aided in clean-up efforts, and Scott County EMS technicians, who, once again that day, could not help the victims. Deputy Coroner Jerry Buchanan was also present. Buchanan pronounced the women dead. Because the accident occurred on a clear, unobstructed section of the highway, ISP troopers with the department’s crash reconstruction team began an immediate search for clues that could give them an answer as to how and why the double fatality occurred. There were some tire marks on the pavement. It is possible that the vehicles collided while both were going the posted speed of 55 miles an hour, advised one official.
The investigation is continuing, stated Sgt. Goodin.
S.R. 256 East was closed between its intersections with Coffee Pot Road and Bogardus Road/Slab Road for over an hour-and-a-half. Traffic was diverted onto county roads.
Mrs. Turner was a native of Clay County, Ky., and had lived for many years in the Austin area. Her funeral was conducted on Saturday, June 16, at the Buchanan Funeral Home in Austin. Glen Waldon officiated. Burial was in Wesley Chapel Cemetery northeast of Austin.
Mrs. Morgan was a native of Cullman, Al., and a retired registered nurse. Her funeral was conducted on Sunday, June 17, at Spurgeon Funeral Home in Brownstown. Burial was in Cullman Memory Gardens, Al.
Sgt. Goodin said Indiana’s fatality rate on its highways and roads has been increasing sharply over the past few weeks. “I think it’s time we start writing tickets. There’s a known correlation between ticketing people for failure to use seatbelts and other driving violations and the fatality rate. When tickets are written, the death rate goes down,” he related. According to reports on radio stations aired Thursday morning, June 14, officers with the Sellersburg post began stepping up their efforts and ticketing for failure to use turn signals and seatbelts, use of cellphone while driving and other violations.