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Sun hampers driver's sight

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

An unidentified 84-year-old Terre Haute man called the Clay County Justice Center to report his Ford Ranger pickup truck was teetering over a gravel barricade near a 15-20-foot deep hole on County Road 600 North, a half-mile west of CR 300 W Wednesday morning. A 20-foot portion of the road collapsed when a culvert was forced out from under the roadway by fast-moving water over the weekend. Ivy Jackson Photo.
Dangerous road conditions and early morning sunlight were factors in a single-vehicle accident east of Staunton Wednesday.

Shortly after 7 a.m., Wednesday, an 84-year-old Terre Haute man notified 911-dispatchers that his Ford Ranger pickup truck was teetering over a gravel barricade near a 15-20-foot deep hole in the road.

Members of the Clay County Sheriff's Department, Indiana State Police, Posey and Cory Township volunteer fire departments and Clay County Search and Rescue were dispatched to an accident scene on County Road 600 North, a half-mile west of CR 300 W.

The recent flooding caused an approximate 20-foot portion of the road to collapse when a culvert was forced out from under the roadway by fast-moving water. Piles of gravel, which were 3- to 4-foot high, were placed on each side of the hole to stop oncoming traffic from both directions.

Arriving on the scene, emergency personnel discovered the truck had slipped off the barricade and had fallen nose-down into the creek bottom.

According to a press release provided by CCSD Deputy James Switzer late Wednesday evening, the man had minor injuries to his forehead, upper body and knees, but was alert and able to talk.

The unidentified man apparently told officials at the scene the "sun got in his eyes" while driving eastward into the sunrise, causing him to not see the large pile of gravel.

Firefighters were able to recover two oxygen tanks belonging to the driver that were not damaged in the accident. The driver, who was wearing a seatbelt, was transported to Terre Haute Regional Hospital for undisclosed medical treatment.

Officials are withholding the identity of the driver due to the ongoing investigation.

A "Road Closed" sign and barricade was located at the intersection of CR 600 N and CR 300 W, but it is unclear at this time if there was a sign in the area of CR 600 N and CR 400 W. A sign and barricade has been placed in the area to make travelers aware of the dangerous road conditions. The road remains closed until repairs can be made.

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I recognized this massive chasm the instant I saw this picture. Its the one in my http://www.QRP.com pictures near the end. I've photographed several of these. It was well marked and the piles of white rock were in front of the gorge. But! The problem is in certain light the piles blend in with the road. I would suggest that the truck driver paint an orange X on the pile after dumping it. Black X? Sign? Anything to de-camouflage the pile. Sure, the Road Closed sign was the primary but this guy probably figured the water was back down and they just forgot the sign. (Saw that several places too.) As you can see the pile didn't stop this truck and in my opinion was a contributing factor in the accident beyond the disregard for the Road Closed sign. Some kind of "pile marker" would be a good idea to keep the barricade pile from blending in so well with the road surface.

-- Posted by TheRider on Thu, Jun 12, 2008, at 7:08 AM

I've got a question and a comment here ... (1) How fast was this elderly gent going? Couldn't have been more than 30-35 mph on this road (Airport road west of SR 59) .. he didn't FEEL the truck go up the 3-4 ft pile of gravel?? (2) If he knew the sun was bad (even if he thought the water had receeded), he should have been more cautious. That's not to say the accident could have been avoided .. probably not with his reflexes as they were .. he's awful lucky he didn't get hurt worse. Thank heavens for that!

-- Posted by Emmes on Thu, Jun 12, 2008, at 10:25 AM

Maybe CCSD/BPD/ISP/FBI/CIA, etc., should arrest this guy too, for disregarding a closed road. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

-- Posted by BrazilBillie on Thu, Jun 12, 2008, at 12:19 PM

Yes, if a clearly posted "Road Closed" sign was in place, he should be arrested. Because he was an elderly gentleman I'm sure he was given a break. The other gentleman, however, clearly disregarded the warning & put his children's lives at risk. Obviously these signs are put out for a reason & these are some of the examples why.

-- Posted by LifetimeBrazilian on Thu, Jun 12, 2008, at 1:47 PM

I have to agree. It is really amazing that nobody was hurt!

-- Posted by sassypants on Thu, Jun 12, 2008, at 2:35 PM

Could it be that this gentleman is getting to the age where he's unable to operate a vehicle properly?

-- Posted by th1953 on Thu, Jun 12, 2008, at 8:45 PM

A couple of people made comments about this gentelman being arrested for this accident. This man had driven east off of the Staunton Cory Road onto 600N, the road closed sign was missing when he drove past County Road 400 west so he had no idea that the road had been closed due to the damage. From what I understand, nobody knows where the road closed sign went, it might have been stolen or maybe it blew down or washed away. If the sign was stolen as a prank or something, I hope whoever did it is really proud of themselves.

-- Posted by snow on Fri, Jun 13, 2008, at 9:03 PM

In response to "snow" .. in light of evidence (if proven) that the sign was no where to be found, then any one of us could have had the same thing happen. Accidents like this aren't age discriminative. I'm glad he wasn't hurt, nonetheless.

-- Posted by Emmes on Tue, Jun 17, 2008, at 10:52 AM

I just want to say that i am very thankful that he is going to be okay. I would also like to state that there was no road sign to alert the driver that the road had been washed away and i think that it isn't appropriate to talk about arresting someone for driving around a closed road sign when there was no sign. I don't think that this man would intentionally put himself or anyone else in harms way. Further more I dont think that this accident has anything to do with him being elderly. lets face it accidents happen and it could have been anyone one of us. Lastly I just want to say thank you to the rescue workers for doing such a good job!~

-- Posted by ali2424 on Wed, Jun 18, 2008, at 9:14 AM

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