Morning crash injures teens

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Stephen Ogborn may have had his younger sister Brittany's attendance record on his mind as he hurried to get to South Putnam High School before the 8:25 a.m. starting bell Wednesday morning.

However, the two never made it to class.

Police say 18-year-old Stephen Ogborn was driving westbound on CR 800 South shortly before 8 a.m., when his 1990 Chrysler LeBaron collided with another vehicle, sending the siblings to the hospital. Brittany Ogborn, 16, was airlifted to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis with serious head injuries.

Sgt. Don Pettit of the Putnam County Sheriff's Department responded to the accident.

He said Stephen Ogborn reported he had been driving on the rural Cloverdale road, when he observed another vehicle about to back out of a driveway at 3417 CR 800 South.

Kevin Butler, 49, a resident of the home, told police he was pulling out in his 1997 Chevrolet pickup truck at that time and didn't see the passenger car headed his way until it was too late.

Butler proceeded to pull out as Stephen Ogborn slammed on the brakes and veered to the left. The two cars collided in the middle of the roadway. Impact was felt on the center of the Ogborn vehicle and the driver's side fender of Butler's truck.

When police responded to the scene, they found Brittany Ogborn trapped inside the vehicle and unconscious.

"As soon as I got there, even before EMS arrived, I advised (Putnam County 911 dispatchers) we needed a helicopter," Pettit said.

Stephen Ogborn was taken to Putnam County Hospital via Operation Life with unspecified injuries. Butler's wife, Celest, who was a passenger in the truck, was also transported via Operation Life for complaints of knee pain.

Pettit said he would remain on the scene Wednesday morning until an accident reconstruction specialist could arrive to determine how fast the Ogborn vehicle had been traveling.

The officer explained speed may have possibly been a factor in the severity of the accident.

"Stephen said he was late for school, and Brittany was not wearing a seatbelt," he said.

Pettit said family, as well as officials at South Putnam High School where Stephen is a junior and Brittany is a freshman, have been notified of the accident.

Officers from the Putnam County Sheriff's Depart-ment and Indiana State Police, as well as firefighters from Jefferson Township and medics from Operation Life amblance responded to the scene.

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