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Local man killed in crash in Columbus (IN)


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COLUMBUS — A Brown County man died as a result of injuries suffered in a multi-vehicle accident on the city’s west side.

Patrick Neal Bowman, 35, died at the scene of Saturday night’s accident on Jonathan Moore Pike at Johnson Boulevard, Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting said Sunday in a news release. He ruled the cause of death as blunt force trauma to the chest.

A 911 call reported the accident at 7:40 p.m. at 2355 West Jonathan Moore Pike, the address for Starbucks, but the accident actually occurred in front of Circle K, 2415 W. Jonathan Moore Pike, said Lt. Matt Harris, spokesman for the Columbus Police Department.


The accident involved a tow truck and five passenger vehicles and closed the eastbound lane of Jonathan Moore Pike/State Road 46 West for about 3½ hours, Harris said.

A tow truck that was carrying another vehicle struck a Mazda passenger car driven by Bowman and caused a chain reaction of accidents with the other vehicles, Harris said.

Emergency personnel had to work to free Bowman, Harris said.

Bowman’s fiancée, Sarah Fliehman, 25, of Brown County, was a passenger in the Mazda and suffered a head injury. She was transported initially to Columbus Regional Hospital and then to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for treatment, Harris said.

While police and emergency responders were working at the crash scene, an intoxicated driver ran into the police car of Officer Ben Quesenbery at about 9:50 p.m., causing serious damage to the vehicle, Harris said. However, Quesenbery was not in his vehicle when it was struck and was not injured, Harris added.

The crash site was cleared at 11:10 p.m. Saturday, allowing the eastbound lane to reopen for traffic.

Accident reconstructionists were at the scene Saturday and additional work was completed Sunday morning, Harris said.

Arrangements for Bowman are pending at Jewell-Rittman Family Funeral Home.



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Columbus police working to determine what happened in moments before fatal crash

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.

FOX59 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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