INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana State Police Troopers and Putnam County emergency agencies responded to a two-vehicle crash in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday. The crash involved a cement truck and a sport utility vehicle.
Preliminary investigation revealed that a 2002 Ford Explorer driven by Georgia Mathews, 70, of Indianapolis, was stopped or at a near stop in the eastbound passing lane due to construction. In the front passenger seat was her husband, Willis Lee Mathews, 74, of Indianapolis, and in the right rear passenger seat was their sister-in-law, Margaret Mathews, 73, of Indianapolis. All three were wearing seatbelts.
An eastbound 2001 Advance cement truck driven by William R. Lindeman, 51, of Spencer, was attempting to negotiate around a large section of freshly poured concrete in the eastbound driving lane, when the left wheels of the truck dropped into the wet concrete, causing Lindeman to lose control. The cement truck then veered to the left and overturned onto the SUV. The cement truck was hauling cement and weighed about 70,000 pounds.
Lindeman was taken to Putnam County Hospital to be treated for internal injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening.
Georgia Mathews was uninjured and able to free herself from the SUV. Willis Mathews was trapped in the vehicle for nearly two hours before being extricated by firefighters from the Washington Township and Cloverdale Township fire departments.
During the extrication, Curtis Wrecker Service had secured straps and chains to the cement truck and was able to lift some of the pressure off of the SUV. Willis Mathews was then airlifted by Air Evac helicopter to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for treatment of lower leg and internal injuries. He remained conscious throughout the ordeal.
Margaret Mathews was pronounced dead at the scene due to blunt force trauma by Putnam County Deputy Coroner Steve Walters.
Drugs and alcohol are not believed to be a factor in the crash and no citations were issued.
I-70 eastbound and westbound was closed for nearly two hours.