Police say no obstructions at intersection of deadly Ripley County crash

Three students were killed and three injured in a Ripley County crash Thursday. (WLWT photo)
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Police investigating a collision that killed three Indiana teenagers say the intersection where the crash occurred is flat with no visual obstructions.

State Police Sgt. Noel Houze said Friday the roads at the rural intersection where two pickup trucks collided are straight and there are no trees or other nearby obstructions.

He says officers investigating Thursday's southeastern Indiana crash haven't determined how fast the trucks were traveling, but speed appears to be a factor because of the extent of the damage to the vehicles.

The two trucks carrying six students from South Ripley High School in Versailles collided Thursday morning and careened 100 feet into an adjacent field.

Eighteen-year-old Samantha Hanson, 17-year-old Timothy Bowman and 18-year-old Jacob Vogel died and three other students were hospitalized. Their conditions haven't been disclosed.

Indiana State Police say the teens had just left a school function at a church when the crash occurred.

Sgt. Houze says the crash happened around 9:45 Thursday morning about 45 miles west of Cincinnati, Ohio, involved six students from South Ripley High School in Versailles. He says the students had just left an FFA event at a rural church when both drivers ran a stop sign. He says one truck struck the other in the driver's side door.

The accident happened at the intersection of CR 850 West and Fairgrounds Road.

Seventeen-year-old Timothy Bowman, who was driving a Ford F250 that was involved in the crash was pronounced dead at the scene, along with one of his passengers, 18-year-old Jacob Vogel. Samantha Hanson, 18, a passenger in a Dodge Ram pickup involved in the crash, also died at the scene.

The driver of the Dodge Ram, 17-year-old Thomas Crawford of Dillsboro, was taken to Margaret Mary Hospital in Batesville before being transferred to University Hospital in Cincinnati with chest injuries. A passenger in the Dodge, 15-year-old Kayla Adkinson, and a passenger in the Ford, 15-year-old Caleb Cumberworth, suffered minor injuries in the crash and were also taken to the Batesville hospital.

State police say the students were supposed to be at the FFA event, a breakfast for farmers at Hopewell Baptist Church, for the duration of the school day. It is not known why they left the breakfast.

"It's completely devastating to the people at the school. These were great kids," Superintendent Robert Moorhead said. "These were truly wonderful kids and it's a deep loss for the whole school community and the South Ripley community as a whole."

Moorhead said a student in the South Ripley district died earlier this year. Another student died in an accident last year, he said.

"This community has been though a lot of grief and we are in need of prayers," Moorhead said.

Statement by Indiana State Department of Agriculture and Indiana FFA on Tragedy in Ripley County

The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) and the Indiana FFA Association were very saddened to hear about the events which took place in Versailles, Indiana earlier today.  The loss of any life is tragic and heartbreaking.  That heartbreak is only compounded when the loss of life happens to those who are so young.  ISDA and the entire Association send our condolences, thoughts, and prayers are with the South Ripley FFA Chapter, the local community, and the many friends and family members of all who were involved in this tragic accident.

Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann's Statement on the Ripley County Accident Involving FFA Students

"On behalf of the agricultural community of Indiana, we join with the families and friends in Ripley County in mourning the tragic loss of three young lives.  May the close-knit nature of our agricultural families, and the bonds developed in FFA, provide strength and comfort during this difficult time."

Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann also serves as the State's Secretary of Agriculture