3 hurt, including inmate, in crash involving Jasper County police car

Police: Officer trying to pass hits truck

JASPER CO., Ind. - Three people, including a corrections officer and an inmate, were injured in a crash in rural Jasper County.

Indiana State Police said the crash happened about 1:15 p.m. Tuesday on State Road 14 about three miles west of State Road 421.

ISP said a Jasper County Sheriff's Department car driven by Joe Kopanda, 60, a nine-year veteran of the Jasper County Correctional Division, struck a pickup truck driven by Dennis Flippo Jr., 53, of Rensselaer.

Investigators said Kopanda was eastbound when he encountered slow-moving grain trucks and tried to go into the westbound lane to pass them.

Police believe that because of the rain, Kopanda didn't see the pickup truck and struck it head-on.

Kopanda was extricated from the car and was taken to Jasper County Hospital with leg and rib injuries.

Flippo was also taken to Jasper County Hospital complaining of pain.

A prisoner whose identity wasn't released was transported by medical helicopter to a Champaign, Ill., hospital, suffering from a serious head injury.

Investigators said the inmate was in the back seat of the cruiser and was not wearing a seat belt.

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