Officials announced preliminary autopsy results of a Brazil couple killed in a traffic accident Monday evening.
Clay County Coroner Rick Swearingen Jr. told The Brazil Times Tuesday that autopsies are performed after fatal traffic accidents as a way to help determine whether a victim's health issues are a factor.
Pathologist Dr. Roland Kohr, who completed the autopsies at Terre Haute Regional Hospital late Tuesday afternoon, found no apparent medical issues that could have been a contributing factor in the accident that killed Jack and Claudia Hayes, ages 73 and 67 respectively.
Although the toxicology reports will not be available until later this week, Swearingen said Kohr ruled traumatic asphyxia, a form of suffocation, as the cause of death for both victims.
At approximately 7:21 p.m., Monday, 911 dispatchers at the Clay County Justice Center received a report of a single vehicle accident involving two victims on County Road 1200 North, just west of County Road 300 West.
According to the Clay County Sheriff's Department's preliminary accident report, the couple were attempting to return home when their 1992 Toyota truck apparently left the south side of CR 1200 N, and traveled approximately 75 feet before colliding with a tree.
The collision crushed the couple between the dashboard and the truck's seats.
Although members of the Van Buren and Dick Johnson volunteer fire departments, Clay County Search and Rescue and Trans Care Ambulance attempted to extricate the couple from the vehicle in a effort to provide medical aide, due to the severity of the injuries they both died at the scene.
While the accident remains under investigation, officials report road conditions from Monday's inclement weather, as well as speed, were considered factors in the crash.