A Fourth of July Crash north of Loogootee took the life of a Martinsville man, injured four children, and resulted in a driver going to jail on numerous felony charges.
Jessica I. Bechtel, Odon, was arrested and charged with:
– Operating While Intoxicated with a Controlled Substance – Causing Death, Level 3 Felony
– Operating While Intoxicated with a Passenger Under 18 Years Old, Level 6 Felony
– Neglect of a Dependent – Placing a Dependent in a Dangerous Situation, Level 6 Felony
At 2:40 P.M. Monday afternoon, Bechtel was traveling southbound on US 231 near County Road 700 North (five miles north of Loogootee) in her 2006 Dodge Durango, when she crossed the center line and drove into oncoming traffic.
Terry Tapp of Martinsville was northbound in his 2015 Chevrolet Traverse, and saw Bechtel driving towards him. Both drivers swerved in an attempt to avoid the crash; Bechtel was able to avoid colliding with Tapp’s Chevrolet, but instead struck the camper trailer he was pulling.
As a result of the crash, debris from the trailer was thrown through the front passenger side window of the Dodge, and struck the front seat passenger, Tyson Willkie of Odon.
Willkie was pronounced dead at the scene by the Martin County Coroner. Four children inside the Dodge were also injured.
Shaylee Bechtel of Odon was transported to Daviess County Hospital in Washington and later transferred to St. Mary’s in Evansville.
The other three children were treated and released to family at the scene.
During the investigation of the crash, Troopers found that Bechtel had operated her vehicle with amounts of methamphetamine, amphetamine, and benzodiazepine in her blood.
She was arrested and lodged, without incident, in the Martin County Jail.
US 231 was closed for approximately two hours while the crash was investigated.
The Indiana State Police was assisted by the Loogootee Police Department, Martin and Daviess County Sheriff’s Departments, Indiana Conservation Officers, Martin County and Southwest EMS, and the Loogootee Fire Department