A 52-year-old Jennings County man died Thursday afternoon in a three-vehicle wreck at U.S. 50 and State Road 750 west of North Vernon, an intersection that has drawn complaints since opening this past winter.
Gregory E. Green of North Vernon was pronounced dead at the scene of the wreck at U.S. 50 and State Road 750 by Jennings County Coroner Gene Rudicel, according to a news release from Indiana State Police Trooper Matt Holley.
Green was a pharmacist at Bevers Family Pharmacy on West Second Street in downtown Seymour.
Brett Bevers, the pharmacy’s manager, said Green’s death will leave a void at the store in more ways than one.
“He would have done anything for anybody, and he often did,” Bevers said. “If he told you he was going to do something, it would get done. He was extremely reliable. He’s the hardest worker I’ve ever seen in my life. He worked all the time. On his farm and at all the pharmacies he helped out at.”
Bevers said Green always was cracking jokes and making people laugh.
“He touched a lot of people,” Bevers said.
Holley said the incident that led to Green’s death began when a 2004 Toyota driven by Marcea L. Oetting of Orlando, Florida, turned into the path of a 2012 Ford F250 being driven west on U.S. 50 by Zachary S. Ziegler, 21, of Westport.
Oetting, 43, was driving east on U.S. 50 and had stopped to turn onto State Road 750, the new bypass around North Vernon’s north side, Holley said.
After hitting Oetting’s vehicle, Zeigler’s truck — and the 25-foot flatbed trailer it was pulling — continued west and struck Green’s 1996 Buick, splitting it in two, Holley reported.
Ziegler and Oetting both suffered what were described as minor bruising and lacerations in the wreck, which was reported at 4:15 p.m., Holley said.
Officers with Jennings County Sheriff’s Department and firefighters with Spencer Township Fire Department assisted at the scene.
Sgt. Noel Houze of the state police said no citations or charges were filed in connection with the wreck as of noon Friday. He said the wreck remains under investigation.
Maj. Jerry Shepherd with the Jennings County Sheriff’s Department said the intersection is dangerous and has been the site of several serious wrecks since opening Dec. 10, 2013.
“I drive that every day from and to my home in Hayden, and several times a week I have near-misses with vehicles pulling out in front of me,” Shepherd said.
Petitions and concerns voiced by local officials led the Indiana Department of Transportation to monitor the intersection and add flashing warning lights as soon as it opened, Shepherd said.
“I don’t know what the answer is, but something needs to be done — it’s a very dangerous intersection,” he added.
Harry Maginty, a spokesman with the state highway department, said it has plans to install flashing lights at the intersection with red flashers for people entering State Road 750 and yellow flashers for those entering U.S. 50. Those lights will be installed as part of the contract for the east segment of the bypass.
He said the state also has installed doubled-mounted, oversize stop signs.
“And we’ve put in buzz strips to warn motorists about the stop signs ahead,” he said.
He said drivers need to be alert when entering the area and make sure they have a good line of sight before proceeding through the intersection because there will often be semitrailers turning left.
Maginty also said the state will conduct its own investigation into the wreck, which is standard practice after any fatal wreck.
Of particular concern is what Shepherd described as a blind spot for westbound U.S. 50 traffic attempting to continue west toward Seymour.
“You have a blind spot and can’t see an eastbound vehicle that’s going straight through if there’s a semi in the other lane because of that blind spot,” he said. “By the time you pull out into the intersection, it’s too late.”