Columbus police investigating fatal crash caused by tow truck driver

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COLUMBUS, Ind.-- Crash scene investigators are still working to figure out why a tow truck driver failed to stop in time to avoid a weekend crash that took the life of a 35-year-old man.

The Bartholomew County Coroners office says Patrick Bowman died from trauma to the chest as a result of the crash, which happened just after 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the intersection of State Road 46 and Johnson Boulevard. Bowman’s 25-year-old fiancée Sarah Fliehman, who was a passenger in Bowman’s car, was hospitalized with head injuries.

Investigators say a tow truck driver who was hauling a minivan on his flatbed truck rear-ended Bowman’s car, which was stopped at a red light. That caused a chain reaction crash with four other vehicles that were stopped at the intersection.

“The tow truck driver indicated that he was eastbound into Columbus and was unable to stop his truck in time to prevent the crash,” said Columbus Police Lt. Matt Harris.

It is currently unclear how fast the tow truck was traveling or whether the driver made an attempt to stop before the collision. Officers on the scene said the tow truck driver showed no signs of impairment, Harris said. Investigators noted the pavement was wet at the time of the crash, but they do not believe fog was a factor.

The tow truck driver was working for KLM Car & Truck, which is a used car lot in Columbus.

CBS4 is not naming the truck driver at this time because he has not been arrested or charged with wrongdoing in the crash. However, his online court records reveal multiple traffic violations, mostly speeding, dating back to the early 1990s. The most recent speeding accusation was in October last year.

An employee at KLM Car & Truck said their hearts go out to the victims and everyone involved in Saturday night’s crash, but the company declined to comment further.

Harris said accident investigators continue to piece together information related to speed, stopping distance and other factors. Follow-up interviews with the truck driver and witnesses are also possible.

“One thing we’re looking at also is possible video footage from surrounding businesses that may have captured the crash,” Harris said.

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