Columbus man dies in crash

A Columbus motorcyclist died and his passenger was seriously injured in a two-vehicle accident on State Street near County Road 200S.

Bruce Caffee, 44, 213 Patterson Road, was pronounced dead at the scene, Bartholomew County Sheriff deputies said. His female passenger, Mariah Crowe, 32, 631 Della Road, was transported by Lifeline helicopter to IU Health Methodist Hospital where her condition was not available at press time Sunday night.

Deputies said the accident happened about 12:30 p.m. Sunday near the Kawasaki dealership at the intersection.

When Deputy Merrill Henderson arrived at the scene, he saw a maroon Pontiac facing south on State Street on the south side of the roadway, deputies said.

Henderson saw Caffee in the roadway a few feet from the County Road 200S intersection and Crowe lying in the grass near the same intersection, deputies said.

Deputies said it appeared the Pontiac, driven by Joshua Smith, 32, 4415 N. County Road 500W, was making a left turn but thought he was turning on the wrong road, deputies said. Smith attempted to pull back across the northbound traffic lane where the Pontiac collided with the motorcycle, deputies said.

Caffee was pronounced dead at the scene, deputies said.

Smith had cuts on his hands and was transported to Columbus Regional Hospital, deputies said.

Neither Caffee nor Crowe were wearing helmets at the time of the crash, deputies said.

The death marks the fifth motorcycle fatality in Columbus and Bartholomew County this year, county records showed.

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