Head-on collision results in fatality, serious injuries

Thursday, April 25, 2013 ~ Updated 11:15 PM
The driver of this Chevrolet Suburban was pronounced dead at the scene of a crash on State Road 240 east of Chadd Valley Thursday morning.

A Greencastle man is dead and a Greenfield man seriously injured following a Thursday morning head-on crash on State Road 240 east of Greencastle.

Jonathan M. Harrison, 42, of Greencastle, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. The other driver, 20-year-old Seth Beeson of Greenfield, was airlifted to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis with life-threatening injuries.

Firefighters from Fillmore and Greencastle worked for about an hour to extricate him from his vehicle.

Sgt. Jon Chadd of the Putnam County Sheriff's Department said Thursday evening that the hospital would not give an update on Beeson's condition, indicating only that he was "out of surgery."

Preliminary investigations by Chadd and fellow deputies Lt. Donnie Pettit and Col. Tom Helmer indicate that at approximately 6:40 a.m., Beeson was eastbound in a black Chevrolet Impala just east of Chadd Valley in the area of the Putnam County Humane Shelter.

As he rounded a slight turn to the right, Beeson crossed left of center, entering the path of Harrison in a 1980s model Chevrolet Suburban.

Tire marks indicate that Harrison saw the impact coming, applied his brakes and got as far as possible to the right, but could not avoid the collision.

Following an hour of extrication, the driver of this Chevrolet Impala was airlifted to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis with serious injuries. Sheriff's deputies believe the car traveled left of center before crashing head on with a Chevrolet Suburban.

The impact crushed the front ends of both vehicles, pushing the driver's side front wheel of the Suburban underneath the driver's side door. The SUV ended up in the ditch on the north side of the road.

The collision spun Beeson's Impala around and it came to rest facing eastbound in the westbound lane.

Chadd said the crash was among the heaviest impacts he has seen between two vehicles, comparing the damage to the SUV to a collision with a train.

Beeson's exact speed at the time of impact has not been determined, but officers said speed and traveling left of center were definitely factors.

The sheriff's department has requested a warrant for the Impala's "black box," which will tell the exact speed at the time of crash, as well as if the brakes were applied.

There are no marks on the road to indicate Beeson braked prior to impact.

Beeson will be cited for traveling left of center, and Chadd indicated further charges could come, pending information from the black box and a toxicology test.

Toxicology tests are mandatory in crashes that end in fatalities.

INDOT workers kept the road closed between the east side of Big Walnut Sports Park and County Home Road until after 9 a.m.

Harrison was on his way home to Greencastle following an overnight shift at Plainfield Correctional Facility.

Beeson had no known connections to Putnam County, and his parents were unsure what he was doing in the area Thursday morning.

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  • I have driven that area of the road many times. I hate to ask, but were cell phones involved?

    -- Posted by donantonioelsabio on Thu, Apr 25, 2013, at 10:50 AM
  • Lord, I pray for their loved ones. What terrible accident.

    -- Posted by naripon on Thu, Apr 25, 2013, at 10:58 AM
  • I have driven this road often and people exceed the posted speed limit all the time. I am almost always passed and I do drive the speed limit.

    People have no regard for others and give no consideration that they just may possibly kill some one!!

    -- Posted by justmehere on Thu, Apr 25, 2013, at 3:28 PM
  • I understand why the banner did the story but to print these pictures before the next of kin was notified I think is wrong. Praying for both families.

    -- Posted by Ben Dover on Thu, Apr 25, 2013, at 5:47 PM
  • I know the family of the guy who was killed I think out of recpect the Banner should mind there own until they have been told by the family that they can post pictures/article ...the wife found out from facebook what away to find out your husband/father was killed on Facebook stop and think if it was your loved one how would you want to find out..

    -- Posted by jan_campbell on Thu, Apr 25, 2013, at 7:30 PM
  • John was a very nice guy he work at IEC as a guard and he will be missed by his wife/children and his family co-workers and friends god has now taken 1 more angel sending prayers to his wife and children

    -- Posted by jan_campbell on Thu, Apr 25, 2013, at 7:38 PM
  • I agree 100% the BANNER had NO right to post those pictures until the family was notified!!! VERY POOR TASTE!!!

    -- Posted by Chickiebev on Fri, Apr 26, 2013, at 8:15 AM
  • I am a long-time friend of Seth. And I know that he was on his way to a meeting in Greenfield. And my question is why don't they check the" black box" from the suburban as well? What goes to say that john wasn't speeding as well if either was speeding. I am very sorry for the loss for johns family, and seth was severely injured. But let's not just subject the fault only on seth just because john isn't able to speak for himself.

    -- Posted by nannerbugg12 on Fri, Apr 26, 2013, at 4:41 PM
  • nannerbugg12

    1980's Suburban... Hmmm..... They don't have a Black Box. Get real.

    -- Posted by DefiantToo on Fri, Apr 26, 2013, at 8:05 PM
  • This is a very tragic accident and I feel this time should be spent praying for both families involved. The worse is yet to come and I pray people can accept this for what it is. A loving father and husband passed yesterday and a young man will have to live with guilt for the rest of his life. This is Noones fault it is just very unfortunate and both families will have a long road ahead. My prayers will be with both.

    -- Posted by dawn22 on Fri, Apr 26, 2013, at 9:15 PM
  • Okay, well if it don't im sorry im not a genious! But still. Just because john passed away, doesn't mean that seth is a horrible guy! Car wrecks happen all the time. And just because this is the banner of johns hometown, doesn't mean the blame is all on seth! And the connection he had with putnam county was his girlfriend. Whom lives 5 minutes away from where the wreck happened. And his parents knew where he was. So quite frankly,this banner does need to get the whole story first. Ohh, and johns family may be suffering, but think about how seths parents are feeling, having to watch their son laying in a hospital bed, almost lifeless. Atleast johns family isn't watching him die, they can atleast know what's going on. .seths parents don't even know if he's going to stay alive or pass while sleeping. .

    -- Posted by nannerbugg12 on Fri, Apr 26, 2013, at 9:18 PM
  • Seth is a awesome young man, and from what i here John was a awesome Father/Husband! So please stop with the negativity! If you people all believe what you read at first glance, then the ignorance is so imbedded there is no hope for you. Hate and anger will only breed more hate and anger! So if you all truly love these two men and there family's...STOP you are only glorifying and perpetuating more evil.

    Lastly, quote from the Banner.. "Beeson had no known connections to Putnam County, and his parents were unsure what he was doing in the area Thursday morning."

    This is a lie! Seth's Girl friend lives and has lived in Greencastle for years!! And he is a 20 year old man, last time i checked men don't check in with their mom's. Facts are only what you choose to be facts!

    -- Posted by Whatstrue on Sat, Apr 27, 2013, at 11:33 AM
  • Well seth contacted his mother because he lives with his parents! And out of courtesy, he contacted his parents and let them know he was not going to be home and was staying with his girlfriend. That honestly was my only problem with what you said" whatstrue" . And I know this about him contacting his parents because I work with his mother! Sooo . Im outta here. Say what you want about either men, but be objective till the whole truth comes out.

    -- Posted by nannerbugg12 on Sat, Apr 27, 2013, at 10:57 PM
  • How is Seth doing?

    -- Posted by Geologist on Sun, Apr 28, 2013, at 5:33 PM
  • This is a tragedy for all concerned. I am sad to see all the back biting and assumptions. Fact is,one person died and the other one, whether it was his fault or not, still has to live with it. The one who is gone; his family has to live with that. The parents and girlfriend are having a hard time with their loved one in the hospital I would imagine. Hopefully he has a chance. I know other situations where someone died in an accident and the one left alive, whether their fault or not has a difficult time. Now is a time for everyone to draw together....not to judge, ridicule, or try to take sides and say whose life is the hardest. I would be very upset if I had to find out my loved one was dead or badly injured by seeing a newspaper with pictures and postings on Facebook. I think that was done in very poor taste. Please remember that the families see these comments as well as everyone else. Please think how you would feel at a time like this. Everyone please have more character and support the families involved.

    -- Posted by egb on Sun, Apr 28, 2013, at 9:27 PM
  • Nanner the state police report and ALL eye witnesses reports showed that the impala crossed the center line into johns lane and that the impala was traveling at a very high rate of speed which is evident when looking at the photos of johns vehicle! He may have been a real nice guy but that doesn't change the facts! Actions have consequences! To sit and try to pin the fault on the victim to make yourself feel better is pretty low in my opinion! Maybe you should contact the police and tell them what an outstanding citizen this seth was and they will change the facts for you! Better yet stop by the funeral home and tell my family that and see how we feel!

    -- Posted by r_u_kidding _me on Mon, Apr 29, 2013, at 8:20 AM
  • Look .... im not trying to make excuses for anyone . I m just saying that just because your family member passed, doesnt mean that he couldve been in the wrong as well but no one will ever know . And volunteerFF Seth is in stable condition and going under multiple surgeries . Thank you for asking.

    -- Posted by nannerbugg12 on Mon, Apr 29, 2013, at 11:35 PM
  • I'm not defending anyone here as I have no ties to either party involved. We can only make assumptions based on information provided. Based on preliminary reports...that the driver of the truck steered away from the impending impact and applied brakes to avoid collision yet still was struck head on, really leaves little doubt of which party was at fault. Now...fault is pretty much established, what are the consequences? Lets think, Seth (assuming he survives and recovers) will have to live the rest of his life knowing he took a life due to his negligence while driving. Should he be thrown in jail for a momentary lapse in judgement? I don't think so. Should he be held accountable, definately all be it sparingly. He didn't exactly walk away from this unscathed. Yes the other gentleman lost his life after (apparantly) doing nothing wrong other than being at the wrong place at the wrong time. I'm sure they are both great people but none of that matters at this point. One is dead, one is not. The one alive, is believed to be the cause of the accident. So where do we go from here? Eye for an eye? Many people call them accidents, but truthfully, many accidents are due to negligence by one party or the other. I'm hoping the car insurance will do whatever they can to try and make sure the family of the deceased is taken care of (however I doubt it). And I would assume Seth will have demons to deal with for the rest of his days. My opinion, he should be cited for left of center and every other infraction he is responsible for but keept he tar and pitch forks at bay.

    -- Posted by J_Mason on Thu, May 2, 2013, at 2:07 PM
  • So what did the toxicology reports say they have to be back by now.

    -- Posted by JrsWife on Thu, May 2, 2013, at 4:40 PM
  • J mason, thank you for speaking some intelligence . Very truthful ! And as for the toxicology reports they came back and there were no drugs or alcohol in his system . Honest mistake or major malfunction ?? We dont know for sure .

    -- Posted by nannerbugg12 on Fri, May 3, 2013, at 12:38 AM
  • John was a very good friend of mine. I worked along side of him for over a year. Very friendly guy. He is sadly missed. With that said, I am also feeling unfortunate for the young man who has to deal with this on his shoulders.....maybe the rest of his life. There are no winners here. I am glad to see that the young man, Seth, was not under any use of drugs or alcohol at the time of this fatal tragedy. I believe that EVERYONE should keep both families within their thoughts and prayers. I attended John's funeral and he leaves behind a very mournful family. I send my positive thoughts to them and the family of Seth. I am not to speculate about what the events leading up to the crash were. I just know I lost a friend, who will be dearly missed. I just hope all who read this story, even these comments realize just how important it is to be vigilant while driving. It is an unfortunate accident, but it is just that, and accident. All my love to both families, no one wins.

    -- Posted by Thats_bs_co! on Fri, May 3, 2013, at 7:00 PM
  • As with many of these comments I am not defending anyone or any action involving this accident. At 6:30a.m. April 25, me and my mom were woke up by a very loud boom, I looked out my front window and seen the horrific accident, as we ran to the road to see if we could help in any way all I could think was God please let everyone be alright, as the scene was worked and cleared, we witnessed a great loss and life line land and take off. For hours we waited to see how the young man was that was airlifted. I found out that Jon was a high school friend to me and my sisters, this was very sad news. Our prayers are with both families. Sad to have lost a dear friend, and to have seen the accident within minutes of it happening and sad for (seth) to have to live with weight of this accident. I wish that the ability to comment on stories such as this we (humanity) could be less egar to place blame because of something that seems to be a situation that diserves finger pointing. We lost a good man, father, husband and friend. and a family is hanging onto their son hoping for recovery. I could not imagine how both families are dealing with this tragic event. I pray they all find peace. And I wanted to say great job on the part of the first responders, emts, and Putnam county officers that responded, it was amazing to see them ALL stand and give a moment of silence and prayer that morning.

    -- Posted by 1OOLbr on Fri, May 3, 2013, at 10:31 PM
  • Why does the Banner even allow comments on these articles? This is a dangerous stretch of road, and always has been. Even with the recent improvements in straightening the road, many people still weave through the area. Add to that the fact that most cell phones will drop service in the area, and it distracts people. The road is dangerous. Pay attention and stop arguing over someone's death. Grow up.

    -- Posted by Clovertucky on Sat, May 4, 2013, at 10:23 AM
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