Smoke from barn fire leads to 5-vehicle pileup

Photo courtesy of Roman Striegel

From Local Sources

JASPER — Smoke from a still smoldering Monday hay barn fire obscured visibility and led to a five-vehicle pileup Tuesday morning along a county road east of Jasper.

The 8:41 a.m. accident occurred along Schnellville Road, three-fourths of a mile east of Santine Road, according to the Dubois County Sheriff’s Department. Two individuals sought treatment at the hospital for minor injuries.

The sheriff’s department said there was poor visibility because of smoke from the hay barn fire that occurred the previous day and evening on Santine Road, north of Schnellville Road, about 1 mile from the crash location. The weather conditions overnight caused the smoke to hover near the ground and cover a distance of up to 5 miles away, the sheriff’s department reported.

Jalynn Williams, 19, Birdseye, encountered the smoke, slowed and turned on her 2003 Chevrolet Impala’s hazard lights, according to the sheriff’s department.

Williams’ Impala was rear-ended by a 2010 Nissan Altima driven by Gale Nunn, 75, Eckerty, according to the sheriff’s department. Nunn’s car was then rear-ended by a 2008 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck driven by 18-year-old Desin Berg of Birdseye, which pushed the Nunn Nissan into the rear of William’s Impala once again.

Next, police said, Berg’s truck was rear-ended by a 2008 Mercury Sable driven by Ivan R. Atkins of Birdseye. That collision was offset to the left.

Finally, a 2008 Chevrolet Impala driven by Helen Theising, 89, Schnellville, rear-ended the Nunn Nissan, offset to the right.

Williams, Berg, Atkins and Theising declined transport from the scene for treatment, although the sheriff’s department said Williams complained of head pain, Atkins had shortness of breath and Theising had a small hand cut. A passenger in the Nunn car, Gale Nunn’s husband, 76-year-old David Nunn, complained of back and chest pain, according to the sheriff’s department. He was transported by amulance for treatment at Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center and released a short time later.

The sheriff’s department said Gale Nunn accompanied her husband to the hospital and decided to seek treatment while there. She had complained of right hip and shoulder pain. The sheriff’s department said she was also treated and released.

Schnellville Road was closed for about 90 minutes while the scene was cleared and the smoke lifted.

Police said the Berg truck and the cars driven by Nunn, Atkins and Theising were considered total losses. Damage to the Williams Impala was estimated at $2,500 but the car was driven from the scene.

Personnel from the Celestine and St. Anthony volunteer fire departments, the Dubois County Highway Department, Memorial Hospital Emergency Medical Services and wreckers from Berg’s Garage and Uebelhor & Sons assisted.

More on