Crash on US 50 claims life of Columbus woman
Five airlifted to Cincinnati hospitals

Wanda English Burnett, Editor

A tragic scene unfolded last Saturday, September 29, after two vehicles collided at the intersection of US 50 and Marion Street in Holton. A car traveling northbound on Marion Street collided with a vehicle traveling westbound on US 50, causing the vehicle to leave the roadway and come to rest upside down on the north side of US 50 in a ditch.

The call for help came in to Ripley County Communications Center about 5:22 p.m. “I was in my house and heard the crash,” noted Bea Boyd, who lives close to the intersection. She said she ran to the door, saw the wreckage and immediately called 911. Another neighbor, Audrey Doyle, also responded to the loud collision.

According to information from the Ripley County Sheriff’s Office, a 2005 Chrysler Pacificia, had six occupants, all of Columbus. Doris S. Parsons, 66, of Columbus, was pronounced dead at the scene by Ripley County Coroner Eric Karsteter. All six were extricated from the overturned vehicle, with the driver, J. Scott Cawein, 41, being transported to Saint Vincent Jennings Hospital in North Vernon for treatment of injury to his arm. Three juvenile passengers in the Cawein vehicle, along with Mary E. Merrick, 44, were all airlifted to University of Cincinnati Hospital and Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati. Helicopters responding to the scene included University of Cincinnati and PHI from North Vernon.

Driving a maroon 2002 Buick Century was Betty L. Hawkins, 69, of North Vernon, who had been traveling north on Marion Street, when she entered the intersection and collided with the Cawein vehicle. She was the only occupant of the vehicle and was airlifted to the University of Cincinnati Hospital with internal injuries sustained in the crash.

It was a sea of lights as multiple emergency agencies responded to the scene that had US 50 closed to semi traffic for several hours Saturday night. Local traffic was rerouted through town. It took all hands on deck with at least five ambulances responding from Rescue 69 and Milan Rescue 30, three helicopters, three fire departments, Holton, Versailles and New Marion, with numerous firefighters, first responders, an extrication team, Ripley County Medic, officers from the Ripley County Sheriff’s Office, Indiana State Police, the county coroner and a reconstruction expert.

The crash is currently under investigation according to Lt. Randy L. Holt of the Ripley County Sheriff’s Office.

Pictured above is the vehicle six people were trapped in Saturday evening, after the impact of being struck by a car (pictured at right) caused their SUV to leave the roadway and overturn. Emergency vehicles and personnel converged on the area. Pictured above is just one of three helicopters that made transports. In all, five people were airlifted to city hospitals, one to a local hospital, and one woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

Noah Arnold, son of Steve and Rebecca Stutz and Robert Arnold, Jr. representing Sunman Elementary School and Elyse Hunger, daughter of Rob and Linda Hunger, representing Jac-Cen-Del Elementary School, were named 2007 Prince and Princess on Thursday night of the Versailles Pumpkin Show.