By Dave Pearce
An accident on Highway 69 near the entrance to Harmonie State Park has left a rural Mount Vernon man in critical condition.
According to information provided by Posey County Sheriff Greg Oeth, the accident occurred on State Road 69 (between the Fairgrounds and the State Park entrance) in Harmony Township at 4:03 a.m. on Tuesday, January 21.
According to the accident report, a Dodge Charger was traveling southbound on Highway 69 and was being driven by William ‘Greg’ Rutledge, age 28, of Mount Vernon.
According to information provided by Oeth, as the Dodge Charger (traveling south) approached the northbound semi-tractor/trailer, the Dodge Charger crossed the centerline and collided with the semi-tractor. The driver of the semi was able to evasively steer away from the oncoming Dodge Charger, averting a straight head on collision.
The driver of the semi was identified as Bobby D. Poindexter, 49, of Evansville. He was traveling north in a 2007 Volvo semi tractor-trailer.
After the impact, the semi-tractor continued to travel for a short distant leaving the roadway on the west side of State Road 69, before coming to a rest near the state park entrance. Rutledge was trapped inside the Dodge Charger and had be to extricated from the wreckage. The crash occurred as weather conditions in the area began to change from light rain to snow.
As first responders were arriving they were faced with a heavy snow burst, strong winds, and traffic approaching the crash site on snow covered roadways.
“The first responders performed admirably, as they worked in some very adverse weather conditions,” Oeth said as he praised the emergency responders. “Both drivers were transported to Deaconess Hospital for treatment of their injuries. Rutledge sustained serious injuries. Poindexter’s injuries were less severe.
Deputies are awaiting toxicology results to determine if alcohol or drugs were a factor.
The Posey County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the crash.
Assisting in the accident were members of the New Harmony Fire Department, the Black Township Fire Department, and the Posey County EMS.
“Incidents like this are bad enough as they are, but coupled with having to work against some extreme weather conditions really makes you appreciate our volunteer emergency responders,” Oath said. “They truly are a valuable resource.”
According to Oeth, he and Posey County Prosecutor Travis Clowers were both on hand at the scene of the accident as they were headed to Indianapolis together when they came upon the accident.