ANDERSON — The victim in a Monday afternoon crash on Interstate 69 was well known to many involved with high school basketball in the Madison County area.
Lee Ingles, 50, was the varsity boys basketball coach at Cowan High School, where he taught physical education, for the past six seasons. In March, the Blackhawks defeated Daleville in the sectional final for Cowan’s first boys basketball sectional championship since 1976.
Cowan routinely played Daleville, a fellow Mid-Eastern Conference member, and several others teams in the Madison County area, including Alexandria, Anderson Preparatory Academy, Elwood, Liberty Christian and MEC foe Shenandoah.
“Lee has been extremely supportive since I took over at Daleville,” said Tyler Stotler, coach of the Broncos for four years. “He’s been a mentor, even from a rival school. I always admired and respected his teams; they always played hard and always played the right way.
“It breaks my heart, because we lost one of the best in the business.”
APA Coach Corey Scott remembered Ingles as a “really good Christian man.”
“When he first came to Cowan, I remember how excited he was to be a head coach in the state of Indiana,” Scott said. “I always felt like his kids enjoyed playing for him.”
Ingles had coached high school basketball in Michigan before coming to Cowan. He coached both of his sons, Isaiah and Shea, in high school, and both went on to join the basketball team at Anderson University.
Jimmy Byrd, former director of the YMCA of Madison County, was an assistant coach under Ingles at Cowan.
“Coach Ingles was the best servant leader,” Byrd said Tuesday. “Mr. Ingles’ love for his family and players was only matched by his drive for excellence. His influence on his students and players will be felt for generations to come.”
Ingles, who lived in Westfield with his sons and his wife, Sally, died Monday on his way home from Cowan in a two-vehicle collision on southbound Interstate 69.
A preliminary investigation by Indiana State Police indicated a 2009 Toyota Avalon, driven by Beau J. White, 48, of Kokomo, was northbound in the left lane of I-69 near mile-marker 227 at 3:43 p.m. The Toyota left the roadway and traveled into the median and through the dividing cable barrier.
White’s vehicle went into the southbound left lane and into the path of a 2021 Jeep Gladiator driven by Ingles. The vehicles collided nearly head-on. After impact, the Jeep left the roadway and came to rest in the ditch.
Trooper Michael Garcia, who was traveling through the area, saw fire coming from the engine compartment of the Jeep and rushed to the vehicle as bystanders pulled Ingles out. Life-saving attempts were unsuccessful.
White was taken by ambulance to Ascension St. Vincent Hospital in Anderson. His injuries were not believed to be life threatening, according to state police.
Multiple lanes of the highway were shut down for several hours during the investigation and cleanup.