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David Nolan Gater, age 58 of Scottsburg

David Nolan Gater, age 58 of Scottsburg, passed away Thursday, June 2, 2022, in Little York, Indiana.

Born September 21, 1963 in Salem, Indiana, he was the son of Forrest N. “Tork” Gater and Margaret L. (Long) Gater.

He had been a life resident of Gibson Township in Washington County, was a 1982 graduate of Salem High School, and continued his education in many trade skills. 

He was an owner/operator semi-truck driver for over 30 years, a Certified Electrician, and a part-time auto mechanic. 

David enjoyed collecting knives, guns, and coins and was a musician, especially loving the guitar.  He tinkered with all kinds of things including fast cars and hot rods.

He is survived by: Fiancée: Melanie (and her daughter Sierra) Tipton of Scottsburg;  Mother: Margaret Udell of Salem;  4 Sisters: Valerie (Dan) Kelly, Janet Moore, and Dawn (Billy) Potter, all of Salem and Linda (Ali Reza) Yousefivand of Torrence, California.   

He was preceded in death by his father.

Funeral Service: 7 pm Tuesday at Dawalt Funeral Home with Rev. Dr. Steve Gorman officiating.   Visitation: 4 to 7 pm Tuesday.

David will be laid to rest with his father at Mt. Eden Cemetery at a later date.      

Memorial Contributions to:
Mt. Eden Cemetery Association
C/O James Hall
4926 N. Rutherford Hollow Rd.
Scottsburg, Indiana 47170

Chip seal preservation begins next week on S.R. 356 in Jefferson and Scott Counties

Indiana Department of Transportation maintenance crews plan to begin chip seal operations next week on S.R. 356 in Jefferson and Scott Counties.

Work will take place starting as early as Wednesday, June 1, between S.R. 62 and the east junction of S.R. 203 in Lexington. State Road 356 will close daily from approximately 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. while work is in progress.

Chip seal work typically lasts three to four days per location depending upon weather. During operations, existing pavement is coated with liquid asphalt, which seals cracks and provides waterproof protection.

This extends the service life of the roadway and lowers maintenance costs. Once the seal coat is complete, loose aggregate is applied and swept from the road. After a curing period, crews will return to fog seal the new driving surface and apply pavement markings.

Chip seal is a cost-effective pavement preservation technique that is utilized across the state of Indiana, saving an estimated six to 14 dollars in taxpayer expenditures for every dollar invested in extending the life of a roadway.

INDOT reminds drivers to slow down, avoid distractions, and consider worker safety when traveling through active work zones. All work is weather-dependent and schedules are subject to change. 

Osgood Man Killed in Ripley County Crash

Sunday morning, Troopers from the Indiana State Police began investigating a single vehicle crash on a rural Ripley County roadway that resulted in the death of a nineteen-year old Osgood, Indiana man.

The initial investigation by Troopers with the Indiana State Police-Versailles Crash Reconstruction Team indicated that, at approximately 1:00 am this morning, a Black 2016 Dodge Truck being driven by Landon Turner, age 19, Osgood, was traveling northbound on Michigan Road near County Road 525 North. 

Turner’s vehicle went off the east side of the roadway before striking a guardrail and embankment.  The vehicle then overturned, ejecting Turner from the vehicle.  The vehicle came to rest and then caught fire.

Turner sustained fatal injuries in the crash.  He was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Ripley County Coroner’s Office.

The investigation indicated that speed was a likely factor in the crash.  Toxicology results are pending at this time.

The investigation remains ongoing.

Landon Turner’s family has been notified.

Arkansas Man Arrested after Stealing Car and Fleeing from Police

A Memorial Day pursuit ended with the arrest of an Arkansas man after he first evaded arrest and fled on foot before eventually stealing a car and leading officers on a chase.

Just before noon on Memorial Day, Trooper Tyler Line from the Indiana State Police Jasper District was northbound on I-65 in Clark County when he observed a man walking away from his disabled car near the northbound rest park.

After attending a Memorial Day event, Trooper Line was in plain clothes but was in his fully marked police car.

Trooper Line stopped to assist the motorist and identified the man as Mario Rodriguez, 34, of Arkansas. Rodriguez was also the owner of the disabled vehicle. As both men talked on the side of the interstate, Rodriquez abruptly fled on foot into the nearby rest area at the 22-mile-marker.

After trying several vehicles, Mario Rodriquez got into an unlocked car but exited when Trooper Line caught up to him and attempted to take him into custody.

Rodriquez then broke free from Trooper Line as Line attempted to handcuff him and fled again into a wooded area on the east side of the interstate.  

Within a few minutes, a property owner called 911 and said a man matching Rodriquez’s description was sitting on his back porch after the homeowner witnessed him swimming across the lake on his property located along U.S. 31. Sergeant Matt Marshall from the Sellersburg post soon arrived; however, Mario Rodriquez was able to avoid apprehension a second time and fled into the woods.

As other officers arrived and began a K9 track, Clark County Dispatch advised Rodriquez had just stolen a Silver Nissan Juke belonging to a nearby resident.  

A short time later, a Scott County Deputy spotted the car headed eastbound on Beagle Club Road towards U.S. 31. Officers from the Indiana State Police, the Clark County Sheriff’s Department, and the Austin Police Department soon joined to assist as Mario Rodriquez continued to flee.

The Nissan eventually struck stop sticks deployed by the Scott County Sheriff’s department before making its way onto U.S. 31 southbound. Even though two of the tires were deflating, Rodriquez continued to drive at excessive speeds and veered towards oncoming traffic.

Senior Trooper Mark LaMaster from the Sellersburg Post then completed a PIT (Pursuit Intervention Technique) Maneuver on the fleeing car and brought the Nissan to a stop on the side of the roadway.  

After being medically cleared at the scene, Mario Rodriquez was taken into custody and arrested on the following charges:  

  1.  Resisting Law Enforcement with a Motor Vehicle – Level 6 Felony 
  2.  Resisting Law Enforcement – class A Misdemeanor (two counts)
  3. Theft of a Motor Vehicle – Level 6 Felony
  4. Possession of Methamphetamine – Level 6 Felony
  5. Criminal Recklessness with a Motor Vehicle – Level 6 Felony 
  6. Reckless Driving – class A Misdemeanor 

Mario Rodriquez was remanded into the custody of the Clark County Jail without further incident.  

Deadlines for General Election Coming up in July

According to Washington County Clerk Stephanie Rockey, several deadlines for the General Election are coming up in July. 

Rockey released information about those deadlines for withdrawing and filing to run in the fall election. 

Candidates have until Noon on July 15th to file a CAN-24 to withdrawal from the
General Election.

For those still running in the fall election, candidate financial information — the Pre-Election CFA-4 is due by Noon, Oct. 21st

Those who are independent candidates, minor parties or towns have until Noon on July 5th to file.

Those running for school board positions can begin filing on July 27. The deadline is Noon on August 26th.

Rockey said each potential school board candidate must file a CAN-34 petition and a CAN-12.

She said ten signatures are required for school board candidacy, but she recommends 20 signatures. 

Rockey said voter registration ends on October 11th for the fall election. 

Rockey said the Clerk’s Office was also taking requests and processing ABS applications. Ballot packets will not go out until September 23rd!

Early voting begins October 12th from 8a – Noon and 1-4p until November 7th at Noon.

Early voting will also be held on Saturdays Oct. 29th and Nov. 5th, 8a-3pm. Times are subject to change.

OPEN GOAT SHOW TO BE HELD IN WASHINGTON COUNTY

The Washington County Goat Association and Washington County Fair Board are
hosting an Open Goat Show on Saturday, June 11, 2022 at the Washington County
Fairgrounds Livestock Pavilion.

There will be classes for both dairy and meat breeds of goats including breeding
does, market does, market wethers, and showmanship.

Goats may start arriving at 7:00am.

Weigh-in will be from 7:00-9:00 am.

The show will start at 10:00 am. with dairy goat showmanship classes.

Anyone needing rules or more information about the show should contact the Purdue Extension – Washington County Office at 812-883-4601 or visit the website https://extension.purdue.edu/washington.

The Goat Association will be selling concessions and the Washington County 4-H Junior Leaders will also be selling ice cream.

The public is invited to come watch the show.

Schneck Foundation Offering FREE Safe Sitter Program in Salem 

Today’s babysitters need to know more than just the basics about keeping kids safe. Fortunately, Schneck Foundation is offering Safe Sitter at no cost to participants.

Safe Sitter provides young adults an up-to-date and well-rounded youth development program with a medical basis taught by specially trained team members from Schneck Medical Center.  

For boys and girls entering grades 6 through 8, this one-day class teaches babysitters the life and safety skills they need, and equips them with the tools to handle emergencies when caring for younger children. 

Safe Sitter is being offered on June 25, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Awareness Washington County, 198 Joseph Street, Salem. 

For more information, call 812-523-4773 or 812-524-4244. Registration is available online at SchneckMed.org/Foundation. Please register early, as each class is limited to 12 students. 

Child Died of Electrolyte Imbalance, Vomiting, Diarrhea

The Indiana State Police today released the results of an autopsy on the 5-year-old boy who was found in a suitcase in a wooded area near Pekin on April 16.

The report was received by police on Sunday May 20 and ISP Sgt. Carey Huls read the results today during a live press conference at Sellersburg.

He said the autopsy listed the final diagnosis and final cause of death as “electrolyte imbalance” most likely due to gastroenteritis, which in layman’s terms would be vomiting and diarrhea, resulting in dehydration. 

“Death in this male child of unknown age is attributed to electrolyte imbalance. this is most likely secondary to a viral gastroenteritis. blood toxicology studies are negative. there are no significant injuries.”

An electrolyte imbalance is caused when a person loses a large amount of body fluids. For example, if you are sweating or vomiting too much, it can lower the levels of some electrolytes in the body, which can cause several other problems. 

Huls said the toxicology report was negative. 

“Other types of testing was done by the physician,” Huls said. “And no anatomical cause of death was listed. There was no significant traumatic injuries. The child appeared to be of normal growth and development.”

Huls said it was a very odd, tragic case. The autopsy report “wasn’t the answer we were hoping for….something we can really work with.”

Huls said the case is ongoing and police are looking into lots of different avenues.  

“If you know of a black child that fits this description that is missing, please give us a call,” said Huls. “We want to emphasize, of the documented children that are missing across the country, those have been looked into. We are working with the missing children clearinghouse. At this point there is no match on the list of children who are missing.”

He said police were working hand in hand with the other authorities that deal with missing children. 

“We have received a lot of calls about the suitcase itself,” said Huls. “We want someone with firsthand information about the young man.”

Huls said the child was a young black male police believe to be around the age of 5, who was 46 inches tall and weighed about 40 pounds.

He said the boy was clothed and in found clean in a Las Vegas suitcase near Pekin by a mushroom hunter in mid-April.

“He appeared to be somewhat cared for,” said Huls. “It’s not what you would expect. Nothing on the body that the doctors could find that would indicated a cause.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the toll-free number established for this case: 1-888-437-6432.

A memorial service for the boy will be held at Weathers Funeral Home on June 1 at 11a. Community members have donated money to pay for the service, burial and headstone. 

Former Vincennes Police Chief Dustin Luking and Wife Arrested

Earlier today, former Vincennes Police Chief Dustin Luking, 48, and his wife, Bethany, 49, were arrested on criminal charges after separate investigations by the Indiana State Police.

Arrested and Charged:

  • Dustin J. Luking, 48, 1606 16th Street, Lawrenceville, IL.
  1. Theft, Level 5 Felony
  2. Official Misconduct, Level 6 Felony
  3. Forgery, Level 6 Felony
Dustin J. Luking
  • Bethany J. Shelton Luking, 49, was charged with Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud or Deceit, Level 6 Felony.
Bethany J. Shelton Luking

Former Chief Luking was arrested on several criminal charges stemming from a criminal investigation after money was discovered missing from the Vincennes Police Department.

The criminal investigation was initiated in July 2019.

Also, in August 2019, ISP investigated a theft of prescription medication at the Bettye J. McCormick Senior Center in Vincennes where Bethany J. Shelton Luking, 49, was employed.

The investigation was reviewed by the Knox County Prosecutor’s Office and a warrant was issued earlier today for her arrest.

Luking was charged with Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud or Deceit, Level 6 Felony.

Luking and his wife, Bethany, were arrested this morning without incident.

Dustin Luking was arrested at Toyota Boshoku in Lawrenceville, IL, by the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department.

Bethany Luking was arrested at their residence in Lawrenceville, IL, by the Lawrenceville Police Department.

They are both currently being held in the Lawrence County Jail and awaiting extradition.

Luking resigned from the Vincennes Police Department in October 2019.

During the investigation involving Dustin Luking, Indiana State Police Detective Sergeant Greg Ashby revealed over $35,000 had been taken from the evidence vault and Luking allegedly used the funds for personal use.

An Indiana State Board of Accounts audit revealed several additional discrepancies involving Luking.

The audit revealed over $14,000 was used by Luking for personal use between 2013-2016.

After the Knox County Prosecutor’s Office reviewed the investigation, an arrest warrant was issued this morning for Luking.

Shonna Achelle Coomer, age 52, of Salem

Shonna Achelle Coomer, age 52, of Salem passed away Friday, May 20, 2022 at Ascension St. Vincent Salem Hospital. 

Born February 5, 1970 in New Albany, she was the daughter of the late James Miles and Rebecca Frances Scott.  On October 24, 2011, she married Rick Coomer who survives.

Shonna attended school in Pekin and Ivy Tech in Sellersburg; she worked for both the Washington County Memorial Hospital and Blue River Services assisting the mentally handicapped. 

She was a lover of music, cats, shopping, flowers, and long drives; she spent much of her time decorating, gardening, and caring for her family.  She was a great conversationalist and brightened every room she entered; she was a loving mother and wife.

Shonna was preceded in death by her parents, James Miles and Rebecca Frances Scott, and a brother, Dennis Lakins.

She is survived by her husband, Rick; 2 children: Katlen Coomer and Devin Coomer; and 2 brothers: Larry Lakins and Randy Lakins.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Washington County Humane Society.

Hughes-Taylor Funeral Home was entrusted with funeral care.