Crash claims life of Versailles woman

Wanda English Burnett

A crash that closed State Road 350 for several hours Friday afternoon, December 17 also claimed the life of a Versailles woman and sent another to the hospital.

According to information from Chief Deputy David Pippin of the Ripley County Sheriff’s Office, the crash occurred about 9:50 a.m. involving a passenger car and a large garbage truck.

The accident occurred when Tiffany D. Helms, 28, of Versailles, was traveling eastbound on SR 350 when she lost control of the 1987 Pontiac passenger car she was driving and began sliding out of control. She traveled into the eastbound lane of the roadway in a blind curve and was struck broadside by a large Best Way Disposal Services truck that was being operated by Michael W. Shelton, 59, of Osgood.

The vehicles became entangled and skidded off the roadway. They went down a large ravine, across a creek, coming to rest on a sparsely wooded embankment, according to police who responded to the scene. Both drivers were entrapped. Osgood and Delaware fire departments worked diligently to free them, according to Chief Deputy Pippin.

Helms was pronounced dead at the scene by Ripley County Coroner Ron Buchanan. She is a single mother of two children who attend South Ripley Elementary. Shelton was taken to Margaret Mary Community Hospital in Batesville.

The Ripley County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the accident. They were assisted at the scene by the Indiana State Police, accident re-constructionist and the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division.

Police say there were numerous volunteers from both the Osgood and Delaware fire departments who assisted at the scene along with Ripley County Paramedics and Rescue 69 and Rescue 30 members.

The road was reopened about 4:30 p.m.

Rullman Hunger Funeral Home, Aurora, will be handling funeral services for Helms. Visitation will be tonight from 5-9 p.m. at the funeral home with services on Wednesday, December 22 at 11 a.m. with Roger Webb officiating.

Memorials may be made to the family to help defray funeral expenses. They may be sent to: Rullman Hunger Funeral Home, 219 Mechanic Street, Aurora, IN 47001.

The Ripley County Sheriff’s Office reported Friday being a busy day with numerous reports of slide-offs due to the roadways being icy throughout the county from 6 a.m. until about 1 p.m.

Officers encourage motorists to be cautious of slick spots on roadways that seem otherwise clear. While both county and state highway crews have been working hard to keep the roadways cleared, sometimes the weather hits just right to form an icy patch. More winter storms are forecasted for this week, one for today, December 21 and another for Christmas Eve Day. The latter storm could bring significant snowfall.