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Woman dies following I-70 accident

Saturday, July 14, 2012

CLAY COUNTY -- One person died and another was injured following an accident on Interstate-70 early Saturday morning.

At approximately 1:21 a.m., Saturday, Indiana State Police troopers and Clay County emergency agencies responded to a one-vehicle accident in the westbound lanes of I-70 near the 25-mile marker.

A preliminary investigation revealed a westbound 1993 Ford Bronco, driven by Daniel T. Franklin, 52, Lake Como, N.J., swerved abruptly to miss a deer and traveled off the south side of the roadway into the center wooded median.

The vehicle then struck several trees and subsequently erupted in fire.

A passerby, Sean L. Cruz, Indianapolis, along with other unnamed motorists, were able to cut the seatbelt away from Franklin and remove him from the vehicle during the fire.

However, they were unable to free the passenger due to the flames and Clay County Deputy Coroner Amy Shelton pronounced the passenger dead at the scene.

An autopsy was completed later Saturday afternoon on the passenger, who was later identified as Mary J. Franklin, 76, Lake Como, N.J. Dr. Roland Kohr performed the autopsy at Terre Haute Regional Hospital. It disclosed that Ms. Franklin died from blunt force trauma prior to the vehicle fire.

Daniel Franklin was airlifted by Air Evac helicopter to Wishard Hospital, Indianapolis, for treatment of life threatening multiple injuries, including significant burns.

Indiana State Police Master Trooper Todd Brown investigated the accident. Assisting were ISP troopers Marcus Tow, Jonathan Cumbie and Brian Thomas; Clay County Sheriff's Deputy John Tilley, TransCare, the Posey Township Volunteer Fire Department and Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Department.

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