The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local News

February 6, 2013

Witness: Driver might have been falling asleep

ELWOOD, Ind. — Witnesses believe the woman killed in a head-on collision Tuesday was falling asleep at the wheel before the wreck.

Jennifer Campbell Sotelo, 27, of Grant County was pronounced dead at the scene from multiple blunt force injuries when the Volkswagen sedan she was driving plowed into a 2011 Freightliner milk truck on Indiana 37 near County Road 900 North, said Madison County Coroner Marian Dunnichay.

Darrin Gowan, 46, of Indianapolis, was in a vehicle following the Volkswagen northbound and said he watched the accident unfold. Police dispatch received a 911 call reporting the accident just before 9 a.m.

“From the time we got behind her, we saw her weaving into the opposite lane and into oncoming traffic,” Gowan said. “She had at least two near collisions. She jerked back into the right lane just in time.”

Gowan said he and his wife assumed Sotelo’s erratic driving was a result of falling asleep at the wheel. He said he and his wife were debating calling police to report the Volkswagen about 15 seconds before the collision.

“She just drifted over,” Gowan said. “The truck veered a little bit but it wasn’t enough. Debris scattered for about 50 yards. It was pretty obvious, even with the airbag, that she wasn’t going to make it. I’m glad I didn’t try to go over and check out the wreckage.”

Gowan said another possibility could have been that Sotelo was texting while driving. But that information was not confirmed by authorities.

“I have teenagers, and that’s one of the first things you think about is ‘Oh no, I hope they weren’t texting,’” Gowan said.

Sotelo’s body, which was trapped in the wreckage, had to be extricated from the vehicle.

“You just hope it happened so fast that she didn’t know what happened,” Gowan said.

The driver of the milk truck, Christopher Al Therr, 37, was transported to St. Vincent Mercy Hospital in Elwood, said Madison County Sheriff Ron Richardson.

The box truck landed on its side in a ditch and sustained a punctured fuel tank. Madison County hazardous materials teams worked nearly four hours to clean up the leak, Richardson said.

Find Jack Molitor on Facebook and @AggieJack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • NWS - HB0420 - Ellks - JC 2a Former Elks building being reborn Just months after it closed, the former Anderson Elks Lodge could be reopening as a banquet hall and catering service. The Anderson Plan Commission on Tuesday will consider a rezoning request from James D. Sargent and Nettie Cox to rezone the building from residential to industrial use.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0420 - egg drop - 30.jpg Helicopter aids in Easter egg drop

    Four months of planning was gone in about one minute on the Lapel football field Saturday as The River Church held its third annual Easter egg drop. Church pastor Tyson Priest found out more than 22,000 plastic eggs don’t last long when hundreds of local children are racing to pick them up as quickly as possible. But he didn’t seem to mind.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0420 - Funderburk - 04 Man tries to restore father's tainted legacy When news broke earlier this month that the Anderson Dental Clinic had been shut down and several employees, including owner Sally Metzner, had been arrested, Mark Funderburk's main concern was the patients. "A lot of them kept going there because of my dad even after he passed away," he said. "And they didn't deserve this."

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0420 - FEMA Kokomo Flooding 03 FEMA’s disaster decisions frustrate state, local leaders FEMA denied the state’s request to declare a “major disaster” after tornadoes swept Indiana last November, despite millions of dollars in damages. The decision prompted protests from Indiana’s Congressional delegation, and it stoked growing frustrations with FEMA, especially in the Midwest.

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • Wagons for Warriors asks for donations

    The Pendleton American Legion post is accepting donations for a project called Wagons for Warriors.

    April 19, 2014

  • Mounds State Park hosts birding weekend featuring live hawk Mounds State Park will go to the birds April 25-27 as the park hosts “Bird the Mounds.”

    April 19, 2014

  • Tim Kean: Can we have a 'A New State of Mind?' I have recently read some great articles about people coming together to make a difference in the lives of children facing food insecurity. The collective effort of a group can provide some much-needed food to kids who may not have a meal when they return home from school or during the weekend.

    April 19, 2014

  • SPL - PT041014 - Ken de la Bastide column - Ken sig Ken de la Bastide: County may eliminate Data Processing Board

    Action two weeks ago by the Madison County Commissioners to close Data Processing Board meetings to the public might run afoul of the Indiana Open Door law, and a local resident is considering filing a complaint with the Public Access Counselor’s office for a determination.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arrest Log: April 20

    Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Friday and Saturday, based on Madison County Jail records.

    April 19, 2014

  • BIZ - HB0420 - Scott wise -TM Gaining an edge and spreading the word in 2014 Scott owner of Scotty’s Brewhouse with locations in Indianapolis, Muncie, Mishawaka and Bloomington, encourages business owners to interact with customers and use powerful tools such as Twitter, Facebook or even with a blog to their advantage.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

March Staff Photos


Buy and browse more photos from The Herald Bulletin

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
Auto Industry Book
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook