HARTSVILLE — A Hope woman who was seriously injured in a fiery crash that claimed the lives of two Decatur County residents is showing signs of improvement, the woman’s mother said.
While Ann Schwartze, 27, was still listed in stable condition Sunday afternoon at Columbus Regional Hospital. Ann’s mother, Kerry Schwartze, said her daughter has been responding well to treatment and therapy.
She saidthe accident victim, who suffered a broken hip as well as cuts and bruises, might be released from the hospital early this week.
Ann Schwartze was the only survivor of a Friday night accident on Indiana 46 west of Hartsville. Two Greensburg residents who were in an eastbound van that went left of center and collided with Schwartze’s westbound car, identified as Danielle Catron, 21, and Jeffrey Washburn, 22, were killed.
The results of toxicology tests have ruled out both drugs and alcohol as contributing factors in the fatal crash, said Maj. Todd Noblitt of the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department. Investigators said there were no eyewitnesses to the 8 p.m. accident.
However, the highway was left slick by rain that fell for most of the day Friday in eastern Bartholomew County. Hartsville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ed Johnson said those types of conditions have often been present during previous accidents in the area known as the Mobley Curves.
“The road is dark-colored, and it’s always hard to see where you are driving during an evening, especially during a rainy night,” Johnson said. “Drivers still come through there too fast. And those who speed often over correct when they start to slide.”
Efforts to increase the safety of the heavily-traveled highway were undertaken by the Indiana Department of Transportation in both 2004 and 2005. But Johnson doesn’t think the improvements went far enough.
“I’m not a road engineer, but I would have attempted to get those curves straightened out a little more than what they are,” Johnson said. “I believe there needs to be more longer, sweeping curves.”
Johnson said his department has investigated approximately six accidents in that area during the past few months. He said three gasoline spills caused by inverted vehicles have occurred along that section of highway in the past 30 days.
“The curves are still there, and people don’t realize the problems when they come through at night or during rain,” Johnson said. “The young lady who survived that accident Friday is very, very lucky.”
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