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Danger Ahead

Road sign featuring Martinsville.

Road sign featuring Martinsville.

Courtesy to

Road sign featuring Martinsville.

Courtesy to

Courtesy to

Road sign featuring Martinsville.

Danger Ahead

January 11, 2019

It’s nearly three in the morning, and you’re on your way to work. It’s early, and despite being used to this, you’re still groggily sipping your Starbucks as you move down State Road 37 when you hear a loud noise screeching against your eardrums. This is unlike any noise you’ve ever heard, and looking ahead, you wonder what you’ve just been subjected to. Then you spot it, right in front of you: two semi trucks colliding, metal frame bending on impact. You’ve just witnessed a crash that will take most of the day to clear out.

On Thursday, November 8, 2018, at three A.M., one semi truck rear-ended another when it was pulling out of Grand Valley Boulevard onto State Road 37 in Martinsville, Indiana. This caused the semi-truck driver who was rear-ended to break both of his legs due to the extensive damage that was done to the vehicle. The vehicle in question had its engine fall out with fuel and oil running out of the vehicle due to the front axle detaching from the semi truck. MHS Junior Brenna Kalus said, “…they put a special cloth down to help stop the chemicals from going into our water…”

Kalus also described the circumstances of the accident, detailing that the semi truck, “…was going 60 when he rear-ended the other semi [truck]”. Kalus said that the damage costs were looking to be upwards of $375,000 in total. With $10,000 for the wreck, $15,000 for LifeLine to fly the driver of the rear-ended semi truck to Methodist Hospital, and roughly $350,000 to replace both semi trucks. She also said that roughly a million dollars worth of cargo was lost in the accident.

Kalus’s law enforcement class experienced this accident, though they were unable to be on site of the accident. Officer Murphy, who is in charge of the police course at MHS, said that it was a challenge to try to, “…take advantage of the teaching opportunity without notice to the students.” He said the event was rather sudden and most of the students were unprepared for the event.   

Kalus said that police were involved in an attempt to figure out the cause of the accident and whether or not there were any injuries. Officer Murphy elaborated more on this, saying, “Police are always in charge of the investigation of the crash. We are also responsible for traffic control and the safety of all responders on the scene.” Kalus said that she still benefited from this experience because “…it showed me all the stuff that police officers do.”

Murphy said, “Observing this crash scene was a value to the class in many ways.  It was a great lesson in coordinating resources, and it also shows the level of detail that is necessary to conduct a proper investigation while still making safety a priority. The amount of time and documentation that has gone into this crash investigation is not unlike a crime scene investigation.”  

The police class at Martinsville High School allows students to get real experiences in the field. Using the wreck that happened on November 8, students were able to determine the costs of such an accident, how the police were involved, and what that meant for the victims. It helped them to get a decent idea for what a police officer’s day-to-day job would look like, solidifying in their mind’s eye the experiences of their possible future career.

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