Funeral procession disrupted by two accidents on U.S. 31

Bartholomew County sheriff deputies are investigating two accidents involving a funeral procession which injured three people, including one who was flown by Lifeline helicopter to Indianapolis.

Sheriff Sgt. T.A. Smith was sent to a personal injury accident at U.S. 31 north of County Road 100S at 2:44 p.m. Monday, deputies said. Deputy Andrew Densford, who was escorting a funeral procession, saw a white passenger car fail to observe a semi that was slowing for the procession.

The northbound car struck the semi and crossed into the southbound lane of U.S. 31, deputies said. The driver of that car suffered non-life threatening injuries and was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital for treatment, deputies said. The driver of the semi was not injured.

Densford stayed at that accident scene while Smith took over the funeral escort which had 35 vehicles, deputies said.

After stopping traffic at U.S. 31 and State Road 46, Smith continues to the intersection of U.S. 31 and State Road 7, where he stopped traffic with emergency lights and siren in full mode, deputies said. When traffic had stopped in all directions, he resumed the funeral escort.

Just before reaching the roundabout at U.S. 31 and County Road 400S, Smith heard that an accident had occurred at the U.S. 31 and State Road 7 intersection.

Smith returned there and saw that a small pickup truck was on the southwest corner of the intersection, and another vehicle was in the traffic lanes on the west side of the intersection.

Witnesses told Smith that when the funeral procession was going through the intersection, traveling south on U.S. 31, the pickup truck failed to stop, deputies said.

One person was taken to an Indianapolis hospital by ambulance and another was flown there via Lifeline helicopter, deputies said. Their conditions are unknown at this time, according to the sheriff’s department.

For more on this story, see Thursday’s Republic.