Bartholomew County Sheriff’s deputies are continuing an investigation into a single-vehicle accident that claimed the life of a local man.

Deputies were sent to County Road 800N just east of County Road 100E at 6:34 a.m. Friday where they found a light-colored Jeep Wrangler on its side in a field. No other vehicles were believed to have been involved, deputies said.

A passerby saw the vehicle and called 911, investigators said.

Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting pronounced the driver, Christopher Ryan Johnson, 26, dead at the scene, deputies said. The coroner’s office determined that Johnson had been living in Shelbyville with relatives, but his driver’s license listed his address as Edinburgh.

Johnson died of blunt force trauma to the head and chest, Nolting said Friday. Results of toxicology tests are expected in about two weeks, he said.

The crash occurred between Interstate 65 and the small northern Bartholomew County town of St. Louis Crossing, where County Road 800N slopes into an “S” curve.

Johnson’s vehicle went off the road in the first part of the curve after it appeared he lost then attempted to regain control of the vehicle, Nolting said.

Family members do not know where Johnson was headed Friday morning, only that they woke up and found that he and the Jeep were gone from the residence, Nolting said.

He speculated that Johnson may have been fishing as investigators found a filet knife on his belt and fishing was a something he was known to have enjoyed.

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