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April 8, 2013

One jailed, one hospitalized after separate Parke County crashes

PARKE COUNTY — One man was arrested and another hospitalized following two separate high-speed incidents on U.S. 36 in Parke County.

At 2:20 a.m. Saturday, Parke County Sheriff’s deputies attempted to stop a silver car on U.S. 36 near Bellmore, according to a news release. The driver fled west, reaching speeds of more than 100 miles per hour during the pursuit, the release said.

The vehicle crashed near the intersection of U.S. 36 and Seip Road, about a mile west of Bellmore. Police report that the driver, 29-year-old Shawn Smith of Ladoga, was not injured in the crash, even though the vehicle rolled at least one time and traveled more than 100 yards off the road into a ravine.

While Smith was being taken into custody, a second vehicle driven by 54-year-old Christopher Matthis of Rockville, approached the scene at a high rate of speed.

Police report that the Matthis vehicle left the road and struck a guardrail, with flying debris from that crash striking a police vehicle that was parked 200 feet from the crash site. The police vehicle was not damaged.

Matthis suffered severe head injuries in the crash, police report, and was transported to an Indianapolis hospital by LifeLine medical helicopter after being cut from his vehicle.

The double-crash investigation was complicated by a car fire that erupted in the vehicle crashed by Smith. His car was destroyed by the fire.

Smith was arrested for resisting law enforcement and for driving while intoxicated. He was booked into the Parke County Jail with bail set at $10,000.

Police report that alcohol and speed were factors in both crashes.

Assisting with the incident were the Rockville police and fire departments, Bellmore Fire Department and Parke County EMS.

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