A crash on Interstate 65 occurring on Tuesday, November 3, left the seriously-injured driver in need of immediate medical attention.
Four officers from the Sheriff's Department responded to a dispatch that went out at 6:19 p.m. in response to 9-1-1 calls from Interstate 65 on Tuesday evening.
Chief Deputy Don Campbell, deputies Shawn Mayer and Jac Sanders and Reserve Deputy B.J. Best raced to the scene, about two miles south of Scottsburg in the northbound lanes. They were joined by Trooper Tracy Spencer of the Indiana State Police, Sellersburg post, Scott County EMS technicians and First Responders from the Scottsburg Volunteer Fire Department.
What they found was like a scene out of a horror movie. According to what Trp. Spencer learned from two semi-truck drivers, Randy Wolke, 58,Coon Rapids, Mn., and Michael Smith, 23, Indianapolis, a black 2009 Toyota Corona driven by Charles Oatten, 20, Westland, Mi., caused the horrific accident.
Oatten had been driving southbound when, for an unknown reason, his car went out of control and crossed over the grass median, entering the northbound lanes. It then struck Wolke's 2013 Kenworth semi-truck head-on.
That impact apparently sent it careening toward Smith's 2015 Peterbilt rig, striking that semi's rear tandem wheels and knocking them away.
The Corona was pushed around 100 feet north and then came to rest in the median.
Several calls were made by I-65 motorists to the 9-1-1 Center, and officers and emergency aid staffs responded quickly. Their subsequent actions saved Oatten's life at the scene.
He was horribly hurt, his arm and shoulder ripped from his body. Pressure was applied to the wound, while First Responders located the missing limb about 50 feet away from the car and preserved it. The limb went along with the unconscious Oatten in the medical helicopter, which landed on the closed northbound lanes and took Oatten directly to University of Louisville's trauma center.
On Wednesday, November 4, the Michigan man was listed in critical condition. No further information about Oatten's condition has been released.
Surprisingly, neither semi-truck driver was injured in the mishap, which happened on a stretch of I-65 not protected by an emergency fence barrier designed to prevent cars and pickup trucks from crossing over and entering opposite lanes.
A cause of the crash was still being pinpointed by the ISP post, which sent a crash reconstruction specialist to the site.
All of this activity shut down the northbound lanes until after 10 p.m. At one point around 8 p.m., even southbound traffic was halted.
The ensuing actions caused quite a backup on I-65, with some traffic being diverted to U.S. Highway 31 at the Henryville interchange.