Investigators rule out racing as cause of Ripley County crash that killed 3 teens, injured 3 others

Police: Drivers were unaware of one another

VERSAILLES, Ind. - Investigators have ruled out drag racing as a cause of the fatal crash that killed three Ripley County teenagers and injured three others Thursday.

Indiana State Police interviewed two of the surviving students and determined that the drivers of the two vehicles weren't even aware of the other driver being nearby.

The students were at a school-sanctioned FFA event at Hopewell Church that was supposed to last all day, but they left early.

Police said the two vehicles left the church a few minutes apart, and the students were unaware that another car of students had also left.

Investigators said the Dodge Ram involved in the crash went around the block rather than leaving taking the direct route away from the church, because the crowded parking lot made it difficult for the driver to make a left turn from the parking lot.

Police said that information explains why the two vehicles met at an intersection even though they had left the same location and should presumably have been traveling the same route.

Police have not interviewed the driver of the Dodge Ram, Thomas Crawford, 17, because they have not gotten parental consent.

Crawford's parents have hired an attorney and will not let him speak with investigators.

Investigators said they will forward their findings to the Ripley County Prosecutor's Office once the investigation is done. The prosecutor will decide if any criminal charges should be filed.

Print this article Back to Top