Wabash – This afternoon (Monday), at approximately 1:51 p.m., officers from the Indiana State Police, the Wabash County Sheriff's Department, and the Wabash Police Department responded to a multiple vehicle crash on State Road 13 south of County Road 200 North, in which one person was killed and five others were injured.
Preliminary investigation by Indiana State Police Sergeant Mike Tomson revealed that a work crew from the Indiana Department of Transportation was conducting road sealing work on State Road 13. Traffic on State Road 13 was reduced to one lane on the two lane road. A flagman had northbound traffic stopped with southbound traffic having the right of way. Brandt Shambarger, 47, North Manchester, IN, was driving a 2009 Freightliner semi-tractor, pulling an empty box trailer, northbound on State Road 13. He failed to stop for traffic and plowed into a 2006 Chrysler Pacifica, which was waiting in the northbound lane for the flagman to clear southbound traffic. This caused a chain reaction crash, with the Pacifica striking a 2005 Chevrolet Venture minivan. The minivan rear ended a 2003 Hyundai Elantra, which in turn rear ended a 2003 GMC Sierra pickup truck. The Freightliner then jacked knifed and came to rest off the westside of State Road 13. All of the vehicles involved in the chain reaction crash were waiting in the northbound lane for the flagman to clear southbound traffic.
Shambarger was not injured in the crash. The driver of the Chrysler Pacifica, Wanda Frehese, 74, Urbana, IN, was airlifted by Samaritan Helicopter to Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne, IN. She suffered a broken ankle. Two passengers in the Pacifica, Monica Harrell, 43, Roanoke, IN, and Marcia Summers, 43, Urbana, IN, were also airlifted to Parkview Hospital. Harrell suffered broken bones in her back and a broken bone in an arm. Summers received stitches for a head injury. The driver of the Hyundai Elantra, Vicki Ley, 55, Leesburg, IN, was transported by ambulance to the Wabash County Hospital with neck pain. The driver of the GMC Sierra, Phillip Hill, 44, Swayzee, IN, was transported by ambulance to the Wabash County Hospital with a complaint of pain. The driver of the Chevrolet Venture, Roger Prater, 58, North Manchester, IN, succumbed to injuries suffered in the crash.
Mr. Prater's family has been notified.
Prater was not wearing a seat belt. The occupants of the remaining four vehicles involved in the crash were properly restrained with a seat belt. Sergeant Tomson believes the proper use of seat belts possibly prevented more fatalities in this crash.
Temporary signs indicating a work crew and flagman were ahead had been placed on State Road 13 warning motorists as they approached the work crew.
Sergeant Tomson was assisted at the crash scene by ISP Sergeant Rick Brown, Master Trooper Jan Maller, the Noble Township Fire Department, the Wabash Fire Department, and Wabash County Emergency Management.