Firefighters had to cut away door, car top in freeing teen

Firefighters used the Jaws of Life to free Columbus North basketball player Josh Speidel from his crushed Honda Accord, resorting to peeling off the top of the car to remove him from the driver’s seat.

It took German Township firefighters about 20 minutes to free Speidel from the car after the 7:04 p.m. Sunday accident. His car was struck after he drove into the path of an SUV and was T-boned on the driver’s side.

Bartholomew County Sheriff Matt Myers said Speidel was driving an older-model Accord on a Taylorsville access road to U.S. 31 when the accident occurred.

Investigators said a southbound Chevy Traverse driven by Janell Foley, 42, Columbus, was traveling about 50 mph southbound on U.S. 31 after exiting Interstate 65, the sheriff department said.

Speidel’s Honda had stopped at the intersection of Bear Lane and U.S. 31 and Speidel entered U.S. 31 from the perimeter road on the west side of the highway, Myers said.

Foley’s vehicle collided with Speidel’s driver’s side door, which took the brunt of the collision, Myers said.

A passenger in Speidel’s car, Kaylee McCracken, 18, Greenwood, was transported to Columbus Regional Hospital after the accident, sheriff deputies said.

McCracken, who is a senior and plays basketball at Whiteland Community High School, was treated and released from the hospital. She was resting at home Monday and should be able to return to school later this week, her stepfather, Rick Stephens, said.

Both Speidel and McCracken were wearing seat belts, Myers said. The front airbags of the Honda deployed in the accident.

Foley was treated and released at the scene by paramedics; Foley’s two boys, ages 9 and 14, were not injured, investigators said. The Chevy’s side, front and rear airbags deployed in the collision, according to authorities.

Speidel was transported to Columbus Regional Hospital and then to Methodist by ambulance, as Columbus’ Life Line helicopter was grounded due to weather. The sheriff’s department initially reported Speidel was taken to Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis.

There was light rain mixed with some periodic light snow at the time of the crash. However, deputies said they do not believe speed or the weather were factors in the accident.

Deputies T.A. Smith and Leah Burton said the accident happened near the front of Speedway store at Bear Lane.

Smith was in the convenience store when the accident occurred, and other deputies arrived at the scene within a minute after the crash, according to the sheriff’s department. Indiana State Police assisted at the scene.

Traffic on U.S. 31 was detoured while firefighters and sheriff’s deputies worked at the scene.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.