Columbus man dies in crash

A retired engineer from Columbus has been identified as the driver killed in an accident on Interstate 65 in southern Bartholomew County.

William E. “Bill” Schroer, 60, of 660 Shoreline Drive on the city’s west side, was pronounced dead at the scene late Wednesday afternoon by the Bartholomew County Coroner’s Office, police said.

Schroer was returning home from the Walesboro area when the crash occurred about 5 p.m. near the Walesboro/Ogilville exit, according to Debra S. Schroer, his wife of 29 years.

While a preliminary police investigation indicates Schroer lost control of his 1999 Corvette convertible and struck cable barriers in the median, the cause remains under investigation, Harris said. Emergency personnel reduced I-65 traffic to one lane in both direction for about 90 minutes to allow investigators to complete their work, police said.

A 1972 graduate of Columbus North High School, Schroer served seven years in the U.S. Navy before resuming his education at Purdue University, his wife said. Once he received his degree in mechanical engineering in 1984, Schroer was hired by Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company.

After moving back to his hometown, Schroer worked for Cummins Inc. and Mactac Global before retiring for health reasons two years ago, his wife said.

Schroer enjoyed woodworking and was known by family members as being an avid cat lover. He also had a passion for his Corvette, which he had owned for several years, his wife said.

A longtime enthusiast of World War II-era aircraft, Schroer had just begun trying to fulfill his lifelong dream of earning his pilot’s license, his wife said.

One of his proudest moments came in June 2010 when his daughter, Hannah Schroer of Columbus, was crowned Bartholomew County 4-H Fair Queen, Debra Schroer said.

He had two other adult children who also live in Bartholomew County, Zachary Schroer and Leah London. Other surviving family members include a brother, Robert E. Schroer of Seymour, and his mother, Vivian Schroer. His father, Charles E. Schroer, who retired as an engineer from the former Cosco Inc., died in 2006.

Arrangements are being handled by Barkes, Weaver and Glick Funeral Home, 4205 Jonathan Moore Pike.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5636.