car driver crashes into Osgood home
Police say alcohol is a factor
Wanda English Burnett - Editor
What began as a night of racing at the Ripley County Fairgrounds
Park in Osgood on Friday, May 18, ended in a crash that sent the
driver to jail.
According to Osgood Town Marshal Rodney Stepleton, he along with
officers from the Ripley County Sheriffs Dept., were dispatched
to a car crash Friday night, but it wasnt in the Fairground
Park. What they found was a race car #73 smashed
into a home at 325 Cherry Street.
According to witnesses, when the race came to an end, Russell
Thomas, 33, of Brookville, disregarded the checkered flag and
continued on the Figure 8 track, where he was described as showing
Then the crowd was shocked as the car ramped a bank between the
track and the emergency staging area. In this area were personnel
from Rescue 69 with an ambulance, Task Unit One members and their
emergency response vehicles.
The race car careened through the emergency staging area and exited
the fairgrounds through a tree fence boundary line. An emergency
personnel member noted when the car when through the fence line,
it snapped a tree about 10 in diameter, skinning a much
The car then went through a residential yard close to a play area
across Sycamore Street, struck a parked car pushing it into a
house finally stopping the runaway race car.
Rescue workers followed the path of the car and when it came to
rest, noted the vehicle was still running at full force.
Thomas refused medical treatment and told officers the gas pedal
had stuck causing him to lose control.
Marshal Stepleton noted that Thomas was actually intoxicated and
when tested, was over double the legal limit. He was
initially charged with OVWI/Endangering and OVWI with a blood
alcohol level greater than the legal limit.
This is not the first incident at the fairgrounds where
the use of alcohol has led to law enforcement being called,
noted Marshal Stepleton. He expressed is concern saying, now
the effects of using alcohol at the fairgrounds has come out into
the town. The house that was crashed into is near the marshals
home. Its just too close, he noted.
There is a no alcohol policy in place at the Fairgrounds
Park. Its just not quite clear who should enforce that policy.
Someones going to get hurt, Marshal Stepleton
concluded, saying this time everyone was lucky, no one
including the race car driver was injured.
A Task Unit One member echoed the marshals statement saying,
Kids were getting into a vehicle and the out-of-control
race car came within five feet of hitting them.
The race was sponsored by TE Motorsports according to a police
Russell Thomas crashed his race car into another car
located at 325 Cherry Street, Osgood, after his car left
the racetrack at the Ripley County Fairgrounds on Saturday
night. The car Thomas hit then ramed into the house causing
damage to the home.