For The Record: 6/17


SCHNELLVILLE — Police allege both drivers were impaired in a Saturday evening accident southwest of Schnellville that injured a passenger ejected from one of the vehicles.

Nicholas A. Betz, 34, of 4469 S. Pine Ridge Road, Birdseye, was eastbound on County Road 400S in a 1984 Chevrolet pickup truck when the 7:31 p.m. accident occurred east of County Road 700E, according to the Dubois County Sheriff’s Department. The other driver, 24-year-old Reece K. Van Winkle, of 1554 E. Walnut Drive, Huntingburg, was westbound on County Road 400S in a 2009 Jeep Rubicon, according to authorities.

Deputies said each man claimed the other’s oncoming vehicle was in the wrong lane of travel as the men approached from different directions. The truck driven by Betz was not damaged in the accident but Van Winkle’s Jeep rolled and was totaled.

A passenger in Van Winkle’s Jeep, 26-year-old Benjamin W. Schwoeppe, of 443 W. 23rd St., Ferdinand, was not wearing a seat belt, according to deputies. Authorities said Schwoeppe was thrown from the Rubicon as it rolled.

Schwoeppe was transported by ambulance to Memorial Hospital in Jasper for treatment of a spinal fracture, according to deputies. He was then transferred by helicopter to St. Mary’s Medical Center in Evansville. A spokeswoman at the Vanderburgh County hospital said today that Schwoeppe was treated and released.

Deputies arrested the drivers and charged them with drunken driving. Police said Betz’s blood alcohol content was .19 percent, while Van Winkle’s BAC was .09 percent. Both men were booked into the Dubois County Security Center.

The Schnellville Volunteer Fire Department, Memorial Hospital Emergency Medical Services, a LifeFlight helicopter ambulance and a wrecker from Hasenour’s Motor Co. assisted.


JASPER — The Jasper Police Department arrested a motorist accused of being impaired when he triggered a Saturday afternoon accident at Newton Street and Reyling Drive that injured two people.

Charles T. Kline, 39, of Loogootee was southbound on Newton Street in a 2010 Chevrolet Cavalier at the time of the 2:01 p.m. accident, according to authorities.

Police said Kline encountered slowed traffic north of 36th Street, became impatient and began tailgating and swerving his car in his lane of travel. Kline allegedly then attempted to pass the vehicle in front of him. Police said Kline lost control of his car, which struck the front of the driver’s side of a northbound 1999 Ford F-150 pickup truck driven by 64-year-old Gary Brown, of 462 W. Prancer Drive South, Santa Claus.

Brown’s Ford flipped onto its top after the collision.

Police said Brown complained of pain to his neck, back, right arm and right leg. A passenger, 60-year-old Maria Brown, whose address and relation to Mr. Brown were not available from police, complained of pain to her head and right arm. Both Browns were treated at Memorial Hospital and released, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Police arrested Kline and charged him with driving while under the influence of a controlled substance, driving left of center, reckless driving, unsafe lane movement and failure to obey signs and markings while driving.

Authorities booked Kline into the county security center at 4:55 p.m. He posted bond Sunday.

The Jasper Volunteer Fire Department and Memorial Hospital EMS assisted.


JASPER — Rosalio S. Flores, 38, of 505 Village Court, was arrested by Jasper police at 9:10 p.m. Sunday and charged with drunken driving (BAC .16 percent).

Flores was arrested after an officer noticed Flores speeding in a 2003 Ford minivan near State Road 162 and Third Avenue.

Authorities booked Flores into the county security center at 11:55 p.m. In addition to the impaired driving charge, police also cited him for speeding and driving without ever having been licensed.


HUNTINGBURG — A county sheriff’s deputy arrested Joshua A. Taylor, 23, of 4361 Fourth St., Dubois, at 2:18 a.m. Saturday and charged him with operating while intoxicated (BAC .13 percent).

Taylor was arrested after the deputy noticed an inoperable headlight on the passenger’s side of the 1995 Ford van Taylor was driving on County Road 400W south of 19th Street.

Authorities booked Taylor into the county security center at 3:40 a.m. He posted bond Saturday afternoon.


DALE — Five fire departments from three counties battled a barn fire Saturday afternoon northwest of Dale in Warrick County.

The Carter Township Volunteer Fire Department based in Dale initially responded at 4:25 p.m. CDT to the REDD Moesner Farms Inc. property at 11700 E. State Road 68.

Fire Chief Dan Reinke said a 140-by-60 pole barn filled with hay, straw and a myriad of farming equipment was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. Shortly thereafter, portions of the building constructed in 1976 began collapsing upon itself.

Reinke said the farming operation’s name alludes to the first letters of the first names of the principal owners. The chief said one of the Moesners had put his car in the barn and left with a tractor and a baler not long before the fire. The cause of the blaze is unknown, said Reinke, who added that the cause could be spontaneous combustion of hay or a problem with the car.

The fire departments from Holland, Chrisney and Jackson and Pigeon townships in Warrick County assisted in fighting the fire.

Fuel and tires from four tractors, an all-terrain vehicle, a car, assorted lawn mowers, three New Holland round balers and a combine fueled the fire, Reinke said.

One of the tractors in the barn had just been repainted, Reinke said. A 1957 Gleaner combine lost in the fire was the first such implement sold by Blesch Bros. of Holland, the chief said.

At least some of the losses will be covered by insurance, according to Reinke. The Carter Township chief put the loss of the building at between $60,000 and $70,000. He could not offer an estimate for all the machinery lost.

Two backhoes were brought in during the response to pull apart debris and move sheets of tin for firefighters battling hot spots.

The Carter Township fire department was on the scene two and a half hours with two trucks and 11 firefighters. Jackson Township’s department brought three trucks and 10 firefighters. Pigeon Township contributed three trucks and seven firefighters. Holland assisted with four trucks and 14 firefighters. Chrisney’s department had two trucks and five firefighters on the scene.

A Vectren electric crew, emergency medical services ambulances from Spencer and Warrick counties and several members of the American Red Cross chapter in Warrick County who brought water and snacks assisted.

Fire runs

JASPER — The Jasper Volunteer Fire Department responded to the report of a hay baler on fire early Saturday evening and to an alarm activation Sunday.

Fire Chief Kenny Hochgesang said Allen Berg, of 1150 W. 250S, Huntingburg, was working in a field on the south side of the 700 block of West Division Road at the time of the 6:03 p.m. Saturday call.

Berg’s wife had just driven up to the scene and noticed smoke coming from the John Deere Model 557 round baler her husband was using. She alerted her husband, and the couple then used water from a cooler to cool an overheating bearing on the machine. Hochgesang said the hot bearing had not yet started a fire, but it was close.

There was no damage, other than Mr. Berg needing to replace the bearing.

Three trucks and 13 firefighters were on the scene 15 minutes.

At 8:56 a.m. Sunday, Jasper fire trucks were sent to an alarm activation at the Tri-Cap office, 607 Third Ave.

There was no fire, Hochgesang said. Instead, a flow switch in the sprinkler system was found to have prematurely triggered.

Four trucks and 21 firefighters were on the scene 15 minutes.


HUNTINGBURG — A Saturday morning fire alarm sent the Huntingburg Volunteer Fire Department to Dubois Wood Products, 707 E. Sixth St., at 6:11.

Fire Chief Scott Patberg said a buildup of sawdust around a saw on a piece of machinery began smoking. Plant personnel had neutralized the problem by the time firefighters arrived. Patberg said employees who had safely evacuated were returning inside the plant when he arrived on the scene.

Fire personnel remained on the scene for 50 minutes to ensure there were no problems with hot sawdust in the plant’s dust collection system.

Six trucks and a dozen firefighters responded.


BIRDSEYE — The Birdseye Volunteer Fire Department and county sheriff’s deputies responded after a portion of a brick wall on a vacant building at First Street and State Road 145 collapsed late Sunday night.

The wall collapse at the 101 State Road 145 structure owned by Karen Ellis of Birdseye was reported at 11:14 p.m., according to Fire Chief David Smith. People had been working in the building earlier in the day but no one was present when the 10-by-15 area of wall fell, he said.

Ellis knew there were structural problems with the building and had spoken with a contractor, who had looked at the building last week, according to Smith.

An initial report about the collapse said there had been an explosion. Smith said the noise created when falling brick hit an air-conditioning unit was determined to have been the cause of the racket.

Firefighters cordoned off the area of the collapse with caution tape so passersby would know to steer clear of the area.

Two trucks and 22 firefighters were on the scene 30 minutes.

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