Passenger in fatal crash listed in good condition

An investigation is continuing into the death of a Brown County man in a multi-vehicle accident on the west side of Columbus.

Columbus police said Patrick N. Bowman, 35, died at the scene at 7:40 p.m. Saturday in front of the Circle K gas station at 2415 W. Jonathan Moore Pike, police said.

Bowman’s cause of death was blunt force trauma to the chest, Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting said Sunday.

Police said a tow truck transporting a vehicle struck Bowman’s Mazda passenger car, resulting in a chain-reaction accident that involved five cars and closed the eastbound lane of Jonathan Moore Pike/State Road 46 West for about 3½ hours, said Lt. Matt Harris, Columbus Police Department spokesman.

Bowman’s fiancee, Sarah Fliehman, 25, Brown County, a front-seat passenger, suffered a head injury and was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital before being transferred to Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for treatment, Harris said.

Hospital officials in Indianapolis said Fliehman on Monday was listed in good condition.

Truck driver uninjured

The driver of the tow truck was identified as Ruel Pedigo, 49, Columbus, who was not injured, Harris said.

Accident reconstructionists continued to work Monday to determine how the accident occurred near the stoplight for Johnson Boulevard, Harris said. Police believe traffic was stopped at the light when Pedigo’s tow truck hit the back of the Mazda, resulting in the chain-reaction collisions with the other vehicles, Harris said.

Police are still determining where those vehicles were located when the collision occurred in the multi-lane roadway, which includes turn lanes to the right and left.

Wreck in aftermath

About two hours after the multi-vehicle accident, an intoxicated driver collided with the back of Columbus Police Department officer Ben Quesenbery’s police vehicle at 9:50 p.m., Harris said.

Quesenbery was not in the vehicle when a Chevrolet Cavalier driven by Jacob D. Voelker, 22, Sydney, Ohio, hit the rear of the patrol car, causing serious damage to the vehicle, Harris said.

The patrol car was blocking the left westbound lane of Jonathan Moore Pike and had its emergency lights activated, he said.

When speaking with Voelker, police noticed his eyes were bloodshot and glassy and officers detected an odor of alcohol on his breath, Harris said.

Voelker had minor injuries from the collision and was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital for treatment, where a blood test was later conducted, Harris said. When Voelker was discharged from the hospital, he was arrested on a preliminary charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated — endangerment, Harris said.

Voelker was released from the Bartholomew County Jail after posting $5,000 bond, jail officials said.

The crash site was cleared at 11:10 p.m. Saturday, allowing the eastbound lane to reopen for traffic.

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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.