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UPDATE: Accident causes gas line rupture, evacuation

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A single-vehicle accident caused a gas line rupture at this home early Thursday morning. The driver of the vehicle, Robert D. Neville II, 23, was pronounced dead at the scene. [Order this photo]
A gas leak caused by a single-vehicle accident resulted in the evacuation of several Brazil residents early Thursday morning.

According to Clay County Sheriff's Department (CCSD) Chief Deputy Rob Gambill, deputies received a phone call about a reckless driver.

As deputies were out looking for the vehicle, officers received a report of a vehicle north on Harmony Road traveling at a high rate of speed and running stop signs near State Road 42.

Only minutes later, deputies received a call about a vehicle crashing into a home located at 8659 N. Murphy Rd., Brazil.

Gambill said the male driver of the vehicle was ejected from his vehicle and went through a wall of the home.

"I can't describe the condition of the vehicle," Gambill said.

Clay County Deputy Coroner Kevin Wilkey pronounced the driver -- later identified as Robert Dale Neville II, 23, Brazil -- dead at the scene.

Wilkey later confirmed Thursday Neville died from blunt force trauma.

Officials said there was one person in the home at the time of the accident, who was not injured.

Upon arrival at the scene, officials noticed a gas line to the house had been ruptured.

"It sounded like a whooshing sound," Gambill said. "An incredible amount of gas was escaping. It was enough that you could smell the gas at State Road 59."

Deputies immediately began evacuating homes around the crash site. CCSD Sgt. Josh Clarke said they evacuated residents within a two-mile radius of the home.

"Evacuations began at approximately 1:10 a.m.," Gambill said, adding Clay County Search and Rescue, Brazil Fire Department, Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Department, Van Buren Township Volunteer Fire Department, Indiana State Police and Brazil Police Department went house to house along with officers.

"It was such a large area, we had to have more manpower," Gambill said. "Anywhere you could smell the gas, you were in danger."

Some residents, including those living at Exceptional Living Center, were transported to either East Side Elementary School or Northview High School.

Officials with Clay Community Schools provided buses for transport.

Gambill said there were approximately 100 people who took shelter at the school locations.

He said other evacuees drove away from the area and waited until they could come back to their homes.

"Most of the people actually went to relatives' homes or just stayed out of the danger zone," Gambill said.

Clarke said residents were allowed back in the area at approximately 5:30 a.m.

Clarke added gas to the home was shut off by Vectren around 4 a.m. All power was shut off to the area as well.

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I am posting this for CCSD Sgt. Josh Clarke:

I wanted to take this opportunity to give send my condolences to the victim's family that was involved in the vehicle crash this morning.

I also wanted to thank all of the local law enforcement officers, fire units, EMS, Vectren, Duke Energy, Clay Community School Staff and all the other citizens of our community wo came together to help. Without everyone's hard work and determination the wide spread evacuation would have never happened.

Fortunately an even greater disaster was avoided. It's times like these that I am proud to be a police officer in such a great community.

Thanks again to all that helped this morning.

Sgt. Josh Clarke, CCSD

-- Posted by appaloosa queen on Thu, Jan 10, 2013, at 8:25 PM

What's worrysome is Vectine's "qick timely" response to secured the line!

-- Posted by fastcharger on Fri, Jan 11, 2013, at 11:33 AM

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