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Monday, May 2, 2016

Driver falls asleep at the wheel, causes three-vehicle crash

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Wednesday morning accident south of Greencastle near Plessinger's Hill on U.S. 231 left three vehicles heavily damaged with one driver being transported to Putnam County Hospital.

At 8:06 a.m. emergency personnel were dispatched to U.S. 231 and Tall Oaks Lane on a report of a three-vehicle accident that closed the highway for nearly an hour.

According to investigating officer Chief Deputy Tom Helmer, Alisha D. Lochbaum, 27, Sullivan, was southbound on U.S. 231, driving a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am SE1.

Two vehicles were heading northbound on U.S. 231, driven by James J. Priester, 53, Terre Haute, and Carolyn S. Hetzel, 67, Greencastle.

Priester, who was driving ahead of Hetzel, said he observed Lochbaum drift into his path of travel as he was approaching a curve in the roadway.

Priester then swerved to the right in an attempt to avoid a collision, but was struck in the rear driver's side of his 2003 Dodge Caravan.

Following the impact with Lochbaum, Priester's car spun around in a yard on the east side of the roadway, coming to a rest facing south.

Hetzel, who was following Priester, observed Lochbaum swerve into the opposite lane of traffic. Hetzel told officers she swerved to the left in an attempt to avoid a collision.

However, after a collision with Priester's vehicle, Lochbaum's car hit the passenger's side of her vehicle, a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu LS.

Following the second impact, Lochbaum spun around and came to a rest facing northwest in a ditch on the east side of the roadway. Lochbaum's vehicle sustained undercarriage damage along with damage to both the driver's and passenger's sides of the vehicle.

After hitting two vehicles, Lochbaum said she had no recollection of what had happened. She was checked for signs of impairment, and none was found. However, later she admitted to working two jobs and was fatigued and possibly fell asleep.

Both Lochbaum and Priester signed medical release forms provided by Operation Life. Hetzel was transported to Putnam County Hospital via Operation Life ambulance after complaining of chest pain.

Sgt. Jon Chadd and Lt. Donnie Pettit of the Putnam County Sheriff's Department, Greencastle and the Cloverdale fire departments assisted at the scene.

Cloverdale Police and Indiana Department of Transportation assisted with traffic control, due to U.S. 231 being shut down for 50 minutes.

All vehicles had to be towed from the scene due to heavy damage, which is estimated $10,001-$25,000.

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