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CCSD conducting secondary investigation into accident

Friday, July 31, 2009

Although the Indiana State Police accident report is expected to be completed within a few days, the Clay County Sheriff's Department confirmed it would also be investigating a two-vehicle accident that injured a law enforcement officer Thursday.

On Friday, Sheriff Mike Heaton told The Brazil Times the separate internal investigation would be to determine "whether or not department protocols had been violated."

Around 12:30 p.m., Thursday, Clay County Justice Center Assistant Jail Commander Ron Keen struck a vehicle driven by Franklin D. Sullivan, 76, Terre Haute. Sullivan failed to yield the right of way and drove into the path of the Clay County Sheriff's Department SUV near the intersection of County Road 300 East and United States 40.

As per CCSD protocols and to maintain the integrity of any accident investigation involving a police officer, Indiana State Police performed the accident investigation.

An ISP press release about the accident investigation stated preliminary results determined Keen, who is also Carbon Town Marshal, was allegedly not wearing a seatbelt and there was no mention if the officer would be cited for a violation of state statute.

The core of the CCSD internal investigation will be to determine if Keen was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.

"Ron (Keen) is the Assistant Jail Commander, and as such, he's bound by the same policies as all officers of the department," Heaton said about the protocols set forth in the county employee handbook. "The handbook was adopted by the Clay County Commissioners and all county employees are bound by those rules. If it is determined he wasn't wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, unfortunately disciplinary action will be taken."

According to officials, the potential disciplinary action for this type of violation is suspension of up to three days.

With Keen released from Wishard Hospital, Indianapolis, Friday, Heaton said investigators would be able to get more information about the accident.

"There's a lot of information to collect before we know what all happened," Heaton said. "We should know more within a few days."

Latest on condition

Injured during a two-vehicle accident and airlifted to an Indianapolis hospital Thursday, officials confirm a local law enforcement officer is on the mend.

According to Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton, Clay County Justice Center Assistant Jail Commander Ron Keen was released from Wishard Hospital sometime Friday.

While returning from a jail program meeting in Putnam County Thursday afternoon, Keen suffered head, chest and a hand injury during a two-vehicle accident at the intersection of County Road 300 East and United States 40. The T-bone collision occurred when a Terre Haute man traveling northbound on CR 300 E drove across the highway and into Keen's path.

Although injured, Keen was able to report the accident to 911-dispatchers.

The driver of the other vehicle refused treatment at the scene, but was cited for failure to yield right of way.

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I just want to wish our peace officer a speedy recovery!

-- Posted by c1iwant on Fri, Jul 31, 2009, at 10:51 PM

he should set an example for everyone else in this county. We don't get the freedom of writing people tickets, but he should practice what he preaches. It's unfair that he has authority to give punishment(tickets) out for something he does also. IT IS his JOB and policy to wear a seatbelt, if I don't do what I'm told at work, I get repremanded and he should also.

-- Posted by ape1 on Sun, Aug 2, 2009, at 4:31 PM

He is the Asst Jail commander .. so he doesn't write tickets!! .. but regardless, he should have been wearing his seat belt

-- Posted by ilovescrapbooking on Sun, Aug 2, 2009, at 11:40 PM

He is the Carbon Town Marshall, so he does write tickets. But police are exempt from the seatbelt law. However, according to the news, the CCSD had a policy about seatbelt usage and that is why he would recieve suspension as opposed to a ticket.

-- Posted by Icareaboutbrazil on Mon, Aug 3, 2009, at 7:29 AM

Wow!Two Keens in accedents and both recieve no moke than slaps on the wrists.Thats Clay County for you.But what can you expect from a sherriff that lets a former deputy go thats accused of kidnapping.

-- Posted by harmonydad on Mon, Aug 3, 2009, at 9:28 AM

Talk about having an axe to grind!

Harmonydad, it seems you're just complaining about anyone involved in law enforcement. We don't even know if the two Keens are related, but you sure JUMP UP to point a crocked finger of guilt.

A NOTE FOR EVERYONE TO CONSIDER: Judge not least ye be judged, and oh yeah, you may point a finger of recrimination, but how many are pointing back at you.

-- Posted by Cy on Mon, Aug 3, 2009, at 1:01 PM

A three day suspension is not a slap on the wrist - and where do you get your information at Harmonydad? What former deputy is accused of kidnapping?

-- Posted by ilovescrapbooking on Mon, Aug 3, 2009, at 7:29 PM

harmonydad- should the Sheriff have kept a Deputy around who was accused of a crime? I'm not sure what your complaint is, and I'm pretty sure that you're not sure what your complaint is either.

-- Posted by snow on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 12:00 AM

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