UPDATE: Indiana State Police (ISP) issued a statement requesting any witnesses that observed the crash to contact Detective Mark Hanna at the ISP Pendleton Post at 1-800-527-4752.
ANDERSON, Ind. — A Cowan Community Schools teacher and coach died in a crash on I-69 in Madison County that also left a Kokomo man injured.
The crash occurred at about 3:45 p.m. on I-69 southbound near the 227 mile-marker.
State police say a preliminary investigation shows that a white 2009 Toyota Avalon driven by a 48-year-old Kokomo man was traveling northbound in the left lane when the vehicle left the roadway and traveled into the median of I-69.
Once in the median, the vehicle struck and proceeded through the dividing cable barrier and into the southbound left lane. The Toyota entered the path of a white 2021 Jeep Gladiator driven by 50-year-old Lee Arthur Ken Ingles, of Westfield, and the two vehicles collided nearly head on, according to ISP.
After impact, Ingles’ vehicle veered to the right, traveled off of the roadway and into the west ditch, where it caught fire. A trooper who was traveling through the area noticed Ingles’ wrecked vehicle and immediately responded.
State police say the trooper saw fire coming from the engine compartment of the Jeep Gladiator and quickly rushed to the burning vehicle as bystanders pulled an unresponsive Ingles from the Jeep. Despite efforts to save his life, Ingles succumbed to his injuries and was formally pronounced dead by the Madison County coroner.
Ingles served as a teacher and coach for Cowan Community Schools, according to a statement from the district:
Cowan Community Schools is heartbroken with the tragic passing of beloved teacher, coach, mentor, and friend Mr. Ingles. He was an extremely popular teacher that had an amazing impact on the lives of countless students in our small community. The entire Cowan Community grieves with his family during this difficult time. We are working together to support our entire school community at this time.
The driver of the Toyota was taken by ambulance to St. Vincent Hospital in Anderson with what police believe to be non-life-threatening injuries.
An investigation into the crash is ongoing.
Both southbound lanes and the left northbound lane of I-69 were closed for several hours during a lengthy cleanup and investigation.