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Man airlifted after U.S. 31 crash

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A North Vernon man was flown by LifeLine helicopter to an Indianapolis hospital Friday morning following a one-vehicle accident on U.S. 31 near Taylorsville that caused a power outage to more than 600 homes.

The condition of Kenneth J. Kirchner, 66, was unavailable Friday afternoon. A spokesman from Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital said he was still being evaluated.

Maj. Todd Noblitt, of the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, said Kirchner was traveling south on U.S. 31 near County Road 550N about 10:20 a.m. when he left the west side of the roadway.


He traveled in the ditch line for about 175 feet before striking a concrete culvert.

His Chevrolet pickup truck also hit a Bartholomew County REMC utility pole, causing it to snap and bring down electric lines.

Kirchner, who was trapped in his truck because of impact to the driver side door, was removed by firefighters from East Columbus Fire Department.

REMC workers disconnected electrical power to homes in the area during the rescue and while the pole and lines were repaired.

About 650 homes on the north side of Columbus were without power for about four hours.

The accident is still under investigation, and Sgt. T.A. Smith of the Sheriff’s Department is the investigating officer.

Also assisting at the scene were Columbus Regional Health ambulance and Indiana State Police.

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