Questions remain in Ripley Co. crash that killed 3 students

Surviving victims expected to be OK

OSGOOD, Ind. - There are still unanswered questions in a Ripley County crash that resulted in the deaths of three high school students Thursday morning.

Indiana State Police said three South Ripley High School students died after a Dodge Ram pickup and a Ford F-250 pickup collided at about 9:45 a.m. on Country Road 850 W.

Sgt. Noel Houze said the students had left a Future Farmers of America event at a rural church before the crash.

State police said the Dodge Ram was heading east on Fairgrounds Road and the Ford F-250 was heading north on County Road 850 W.

Troopers said preliminary reports indicate that both vehicles approached a four-way stop intersection and both vehicles disregarded the stop sign. Police said the Dodge hit the Ford broadside, sending both vehicles off the road and into a cornfield.

The victims were identified as 17-year-old Timothy Bowman, of Osgood, 18-year-old Jacob Vogel, of Versailles, and 18-year-old Samantha Hansen, of Holton. All three were pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators said Bowman was driving the Ford pickup and Vogel was his passenger. Hansen was a front-seat passenger in the Dodge Ram.

State police said the other three victims were able to get out of the vehicles.

Officers identified the other victims as 17-year-old Thomas Crawford, of Dillsboro, 15-year-old Caleb Cumberworth, of Holton, and 15-year-old Kayla Adkinson, of Holton.

Crawford was identified as the driver of the Dodge Ram.

Houze said Friday that Crawford suffered broken ribs and a bruised lung. He was released from University of Cincinnati Medical Center on Thursday night.

Cumberworth suffered a bruised hand and knee. Adkinson suffered a broken pelvis and could not be released from the hospital this weekend.

All three students are expected to be OK.

Investigators said the students were supposed to stay at the event for the entire day. Police are trying to determine why the students left the event.

Officers said they had not been able to speak with the surviving teens yet.

Many people in Ripley County are wondering how the crash happened.

9 On Your Side reporter Jason Law spoke with Norma Sheets, who taught Vogel and Hansen in elementary school.

"We don't want this to be their legacy. They were wonderful kids, and that's what we should remember about them," Sheets said.

She said she stopped at the crash site Friday herself to see what might have happened.

"We don't understand teenagers sometimes. Just a split second decision can take their lives," Sheets said.

There is no indication that drugs or alcohol were involved. Speed could be a factor in the crash.

Investigators are trying to piece together and figure out what exactly happened.

"We've heard several indications that they were heading into town to maybe get a soft drink and a snack or something like that," Houze said.

All day Friday people stopped at the crash site to pay their respects and leave flowers.

School Superintendent Rob Morehead said Thursday that staff met with students in the school gym to inform them of the crash.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and the entire community," he said.

The schools will have grief counselors on hand to help any student who asks.

Stay with 9 On Your Side and for updates as they become available.

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