North Vernon driver hurt in chain of crashes Tuesday

FB_IMG_1471373864633A North Vernon truck driver was seriously injured in a series of traffic crashes that tied up traffic on Interstate 65 and other roads around Columbus for more than five hours yesterday.

Indiana State Police report that the chain of wrecks started on the Interstate between Columbus and Walesboro around 1 p.m. with a crash that only caused damage to the vehicles involved. But that was followed by a more serious three-vehicle crash just south of the Columbus exit.

36-year-old Shawn B. Beeman of North Vernon was driving a semi pulling an empty tanker trailer and couldn’t stop in time to avoid the stalled traffic. He hit the rear of a box trailer driven by 54-year-old Patrick R. Russell of Campbellsville, Kentucky. That crash pushed Russell’s truck into a Cadillac driven by 39-year-old Kelli J. Buckley of Trafalgar.

The cab of Beeman’s truck was severely damaged and he had to be rescued by Columbus firefighters. He was taken first to Columbus Regional Hospital and then to IU Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis with possibly life-threatening head injuries. The other drivers were uninjured.

That crash caused further traffic backups and fender benders that disrupted traffic on Southern Crossing, State Road 11 and Jonathan Moore Pike all afternoon..

The southbound lanes of the interstate were closed until almost 6 p.m. to recreate the accident scene and to clean up the mess. Russell’s truck spilled its cargo of bulk mail across the interstate, causing further cleanup problems.