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Hancock County News

Hancock County resident, Sergeant Chris Lambert, promoted to Lieutenant

The Superintendent of the Indiana State Police, Douglas G. Carter, has announced the promotion of Sergeant Christopher J. Lambert to the rank of Lieutenant.


Lieutenant Lambert received his promotion through written testing and a competitive interview process.  In his new capacity, Lambert will serve as the Training Division Training Programs Coordinator and will oversee various components of the department’s In-Service Training Programs.  


Lambert, who is originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, is a 1989 graduate of North Vigo High School.  In 1993, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Criminology from Indiana State University.  On December 4, 1994, he graduated from the 51st Indiana State Police Recruit Academy and was assigned to the Pendleton Post where he served as a road trooper for thirteen years. 

In 2007, Lambert was promoted to the rank of Sergeant to serve as the Firearms Program Coordinator in the Training Division.  In 2014 he was transferred to the Special Operations Command to serve as the Commander of the Underwater Search and Recovery Team (USRT). 


During his career, Lambert has completed several professional development courses, including the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board Senior Instructor Course and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s Leadership Academy.  Lambert has served the Indiana State Police in the following disciplines:  Field Training Officer, Tactical Intervention Platoon, USRT Diving Officer, Firearms Instructor, Tactical Flight Officer, First Aid Instructor, and in 2009 was a recipient of the Meritorious Service Award.


Lambert and his wife have four children and are residents of Hancock County.

Greenfield woman killed in two-vehicle Brown County crash

A Greenfield woman was killed in a Brown County car crash on June 3.


Alison Jerrell was pronounced dead at the scene at the intersection of T.C. Steele Road and State Road 46. 


The two-vehicle crash happened about 10:00 pm that evening.  Andrew Sanders, of Indianapolis, was driving  a 2018 Ford Fusion and failed to stop at the intersection according to a release from the Brown County Sheriff’s Office.  His car went into the path of a 2019 Ram 5500 driven by Billy Dobbs, of Elizabethtown.  Dobb’s truck hit the driver’s side of Sanders’ car.


Sanders was flown to IU Methodist for medical treatment.  A warrant will allow law enforcement to check Sanders’ toxicology results as part of its investigation.  There’s no word in the release if intoxicated driving is believed to be a factor.


Dobbs also submitted to tests as part of the investigation.  He was treated at Columbus Regional.


INDOT to close portion of SR 9 for pavement project

The Indiana Department of Transportation will close a portion of State Road 9 for construction. 


SR 9 will close between Mackenzie Road and U.S. 40 in both directions. The closure is scheduled to begin on June 7, weather permitting. The road is scheduled to reopen in the beginning of August. 


Crews will be patching and repaving the road during the closure. Please plan ahead and know your alternate route. Plan some extra time to get around the closure, especially in the first few weeks.

Bees cause Southern Hancock elementary to close Wednesday

Covid, weather, maybe even an electrical or water issue are at the top of the list for reasons schools close for a day.  Not commonly on that list - bees.


The Southern Hancock Schools announced that Brandywine Elementary would be closed today after a large beehive was discovered.  The bees have been contained and aren't considered to be a threat to the public but the school system played it safe by closing the elementary for today, May 26.


The rest of the Southern Hancock is open Wednesday.




INDOT to close ramps on State Road 9 for construction

The Indiana Department of Transportation will close ramps on State Road 9 to and from I-70 for construction work. 


The ramp closures will occur the next three weekends: April 30 - May 3, May 7-10 and May 14-17. Ramps will be closed from 8 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday. 


Crews will be installing concrete center islands on some of the ramps and on State Road 9. This is a safety feature that will separate traffic as they exit onto S.R. 9. 


Ramp Closures

  • I-70 EB to SR 9 NB 
  • SR 9 NB & SB to I-70 EB 

Sinkhole develops in Greenfield traffic / road construction area

The Greenfield Police Department has issued the following regarding a traffic situation that has developed in a construction zone on the city's south side:


A sinkhole has opened up in the 800 block of South State Street at the entrance of the Waste Water treatment plant. This section of the street is already under a "soft closure" due to the ongoing construction, but it will now become a "hard closure."


No traffic will be able to get through this section of the street. For reference, this is in front of the old Florida Cracker restaurant. The street will be closed at this location only.


If you live between Tague Street and the Florida Cracker, you will be able to use Tague Street to get to State Street. You will also be able to access the cemetery and all businesses within that section from Tague Street.


This hard closure is expected to last until at least Friday afternoon.

Two children injured when their bicycle failed to stop and struck a vehicle in Greenfield

A bicycle being ridden by two children struck a moving vehicle in Greenfield.


Greenfield Fire Territory and Greenfield Police responded to the accident scene about 7:30 pm Thursday in the 100 block of Pratt Street.  Greenfield Police say one of the children was sitting on the handlebars as they rode in an alley way.  The bike failed to stop before entering onto Pratt Street and struck the back driver’s side fender of a moving pickup. 


The driver of the truck was Jacob Peck of Greenfield.  Peck immediately stopped and aided the children, ages 11 and 14.  Both were transported to Riley Hospital for Children.  No further information has been made available on their conditions.


The Hancock County Fatal Accident Crash Team (FACT) is handling the investigation.




INDOT to use crossovers for I-70 deep patching work in Hancock Co.

The Indiana Department of Transportation will be working on a deep patching project for approximately 5 miles on I-70 EB & WB beginning near CR 400 E and going to SR 109.


Crews are building the crossover throughout the end of April and beginning of May. Traffic will be shifted over onto the shoulder, with 2 lanes open in each direction. 


Phase 1

The crossover will begin after Memorial Day. I-70 EB lanes will be closed and all traffic will be shifted into the WB lanes, with one lane in each direction.


During Phase 1, the SR 109 EB ramps will be closed. The SR 109 ramp to I-70 WB will also be closed. Traffic will still be able to exit at SR 109. 


This phase is scheduled to open up in mid-July to prepare for Phase 2.


Phase 2

Phase 2 is scheduled to begin at the end of July.


During Phase 2, traffic will be shifted into a crossover on the I-70 EB lanes, with one lane in each direction. I-70 WB lanes will be completely closed. 


Also during this phase, the SR 109 WB ramps will be closed. The SR 109 ramp to I-70 EB will also be closed. Traffic will still be able to exit at SR 109.


This phase is scheduled to open up before Labor Day.


During construction, the public can also take a signed alternate route. That will be Mt. Comfort Rd to US 40 to SR 3. 


All construction work is weather dependent. 

City of Greenfield no longer requires masks

The City of Greenfield will no longer require masks to be worn in public offices or for public employees to wear masks while performing their duties.


A statement from Mayor Fewell regarding COVID19 mask mandate


INDOT to resurface US 40 in Greenfield

The Indiana Department of Transportation is closing lanes of U.S. 40 for a resurfacing project near Greenfield.


Lanes will be resurfaced on U.S. 40 in both directions between 400 East and Monroe Street. Flaggers will be used to take vehicles through the construction in one lane. Watch for crews on the side of the road and be prepared to stop.


Construction started in the beginning of April and all lanes are scheduled to be open by the end of June, weather permitting.


The work will continue to take place between 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. for minimal impact on traffic. Local access will still be available to motorists.

Greenfield Police Chief Rasche to retire

Greenfield Police Chief Jeff Rasche announced in the following letter his intention to retire.  The letter was published on the Greenfield Police Department Facebook page.



Man airlifted from motorcycle-Jeep accident on Mt. Comfort Rd

A motorcycle rider was airlifted from a Hancock County accident scene Tuesday afternoon after a collision with a Jeep.


According to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, the Jeep involved was northbound on Mt. Comfort Road near 900 North and the motorcycle was being driven southbound just after 3:30 pm.  The initial investigation indicates the Jeep turned into the path of the motorcycle.


There are no names as of this report.  Family of the motorcycle rider was being sought.  He was airlifted to St. Vincent in Indianapolis.


The juvenile driver of the Jeep was not injured and cooperated with law enforcement at the scene.

Drugs and alcohol are not believed to be a factor in the accident.

Hancock County's Pennsy Trail receives grant to complete trail gap

Hancock County's Pennsy Trail will receive funds for key project to add to trail.


Governor Holcomb and Indiana Department of Natural Resources Director Dan Bortner announced 18 communities and non-profit organizations will receive a combined $29.6 million for 70 miles of new trail development as a part of the second round of the Next Level Trails program.


Combined with the 17 projects announced as part of the first round in May 2019, the Next Level Trails program has awarded $54.3 million in funding for more than 112 miles of trail throughout Indiana.


$670, 803 will go to add 1.32 miles of asphalt trail to the Pennsy Trail system in western Hancock County, completing a gap in the trail between C.R. 600 W and C.R. 500 W.  The project is part of the statewide National Road Heritage Trail and is an important step toward completing the trail between Cumberland and Greenfield.


The trail is named for the corridor of the former Pennsylvania Railroad. Pennsy Trails of Hancock County is a key partner in the project.


Next Level Trails is the largest infusion of trails funding in state history. The $90 million grant program is divided into two components: a $70 million fund for regional projects and a $20 million fund for local projects.


The grants awarded in the second round include 10 regional projects and eight local projects.

DNR received second-round applications for 62 projects in 36 counties, requesting a total of more than $93 million for more than 158 proposed miles of hiking, biking and riding trails.


Next Level Trails is part of Gov. Holcomb's $1 billion Next Level Connections infrastructure program, which accelerates the completion of major highway projects, expands access to rural broadband services and pursues the expansion of rail projects in northwest Indiana.


Gov. Holcomb and the DNR also announced details of the third round of Next Level Trails. A total of $35 million will be available, including $25 million for regional projects and $10 million for local projects. Applications will be accepted starting Nov. 1 and are due to the DNR by Dec. 1.




Greenfield Main Street awarded funds

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs announced 15 Indiana Main Street programs are receiving grants through the Taking Care of Main Street program totaling $205,000This second round was created to encourage and support advanced programs looking to implement mid- to long-term recovery strategies related to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.


In August 2020, 40 Indiana Main Street organizations each received $5,000 through the first round of the program.


Eligible expenses could include salaries, administrative/consultant fees, space/equipment rental or staff development and training. For more program information, visit


Greenfield Main Street, Inc. is awarded $15,000 for the program director’s salary expenses and to assist with special COVID-19 friendly event programs throughout the year.

Traffic violation becomes drugs, gun arrest

A man from Louisiana ran a stop sign, so police pulled him over in Knightstown, and found more than a passenger in his car. 


Brandon Robichaux was arrested on Sunday after police found two guns, prescription drugs, syringes, marijuana and eight bags of ecstasy, said the Muncie Star Press.


He admitted to police the ecstasy, and other drugs were his, but he wasn't a dealer. 


His passenger, Thomas Kietun, from Hagerstown, admitted to taking ecstasy, but also warned police he was an acquaintance of a recently elected Henry County official and he would be "making a call."

Robichaux was charged with dealing, multiple possession charges, carrying a gun without a license, and more. 


Kietun was charged with possession, carrying a gun without a license, and visiting a common nuisance. 

Ruling against Greenfield Granite to seek restitution

The saga of a Greenfield business that was the scene of a death investigation and a lawsuit by Indiana's attorney general has come to a close this month. 


A civil case against Greenfield Granite has been decided, as Hancock County Court Commissioner Cody Coombs ruled for the state, awarding over $379 thousand to the state. 


In a four-page summary judgement, Coombs noted that representatives of Greenfield Granite never responded to the charges and ruled the business committed an unfair, abusive or deceptive act against its own customers, who paid for headstones that were never received. 


With the ruling, the office of the Indiana Attorney General can take whatever steps needed to recover property, which Coombs directed to be liquidated or distributed in hopes of using the proceeds to make restitution. 


Furthermore, Coombs awarded $5,000 per violation to be paid by the business. Also, any cremains located on the property are to be turned over to local authorities for identification and to be returned to the family. 


The business was the scene of a death investigation on Sept. 8, as former owner Amie Strohl took her life at the business.


At the time of her death, Strohl was under investigation by the Greenfield Police Department as several complaints were filed regarding payment for services that were never rendered. 


Shortly after Strohl's suicide, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging that they had engaged in deceptive practices for two years. 


Court records show that Strohl was to have appeared in Hancock County Superior Court 2 for a civil case on the day she took her life. 

Virtual learning at Mt. Vernon calls for day outdoors

It's a snow day for a school in Hancock County, meaning all kids are home for virtual learning, but instead of working on a computer all day they've asked their students to grab their snow shoes.


Mt. Vernon Community Schools Superintendent Jack Parker said students only have one new assignment.


Step one, students have to use the scientific process and plan an outfit that will keep them warm and dry while playing outside.


"Once this hypothesis has been secured, students will be expected to test their theory by going outdoors and playing in the snow," said Parker. 


Step two, students will be practicing their skills of estimations and measurements by throwing snowballs at each other, the catch they have to stay six feet apart. 


If they happen to get hit with a snowball, it's time to practice their social skills and use good words to express themselves. 


For the kids that aren't feeling well, Parker said their assignment is to rest and drink plenty of fluids. 


"Students will self-report their grades to their teachers tomorrow during our regular virtual-learning day," he said. "Teachers have the option to not record this as a graded assignment."

He said students can also earn extra credit by helping shovel sidewalks and driveways. 

Greenfield woman killed in crash with wrong-way driver on I-65

A Greenfield woman was killed Monday night in a crash on I-65 in Boone County, according to the Lebanon Police Department.


According to police, Nicole Watson, 22, of Greenfield, was traveling north on I-65 when she was struck head on by Bill Rainwater, 83, of Indianapolis. Rainwater was traveling south on the wrong side of the interstate. 


Officers had already begun pursuit of a vehicle heading the wrong way when the accident happened.


Watson was pronounced dead at the scene. All northbound lanes of I-65 were closed as a result of the crash. 

Greenfield patrolman honored for life-saving effort

A Greenfield police officer was honored for saving a woman from a burning car in September.


Patrolman Blake Crull received the city's Lifesaving Award and the Medal of Valor during a City Council Meeting.


While patrolling Sept. 9, Crull came upon a two-car crash. One car was upside-down and on fire. Crull approached the car and heard someone inside. He freed Heather Fischer from the car and made sure she got help.


Fischer and her family attended the event.


"This is about coming together as a community and recognizing what this incredible man did for me. I definitely wouldn't be here if he wouldn't have been where he was at the time and been brave enough to actually risk his life. A burning car...a lot of people don't just run right up and do that," Fischer told WISH-TV.


The Lifesaving Award is given to officers who quickly save a life in the line of duty with disregard for personal safety. The Medal of Valor is awarded to police officers for outstanding acts of heroism and bravery.

Crider: Communities in Senate District 28 receive more than $1.2 million in road-funding grants

Communities in Senate District 28 will receive more than $1.2 million to improve roads and bridges through the Community Crossings Matching Grant Program, said State Sen. Michael Crider (R-Greenfield).

The CCMG, established by the Indiana General Assembly<> in 2016, aims to advance community infrastructure projects, strengthen local transportation networks and improve Indiana’s roads and bridges. Since it was put into place, the program has awarded more than $830 million in state matching funds for local construction projects.

In Senate District 28, the following communities received grants:

·       McCordsville received $992,723.17;

·       New Palestine received $112,171.10; and

·       Shirley received $95,199.66.

“The Community Crossing Matching Grant program is a great resource for local municipal and county governments, helping them improve our communities," Crider said. “I look forward to seeing the positive impact these grants will have, and I commend the local leaders whose efforts made this funding possible.”

Through the program, the Indiana Department of Transportation<> matches up to $1 million annually when localities invest in road and bridge repairs. Counties with populations fewer than 50,000 and cities and towns with populations fewer than 10,000 receive a 75%/25% match, while counties with populations of greater than 50,000 and cities and towns with populations of greater than 10,000 receive a 50%/50% match.

Elanco to build global headquarters in Indianapolis

Greenfield-based Elanco Animal Health has announced plans to move its global headquarters to downtown Indianapolis.


Elanco, the world’s second-largest animal health company, will establish its global headquarters at the site of the former GM Stamping Plant in downtown Indy. The 91-acre former industrial site has sat vacant since General Motors closed the plant in 2011.


Elanco says the new site in downtown Indy will allow it to “consolidate its global operations and more than 1,000 team members at one location,” according to Inside Indiana Business.


The investment in its Indianapolis HQ will allow Elanco to create nearly 600 jobs over the next decade while retaining more than 1,600 employees.


The company will keep its manufacturing centers in Clinton, Indy, and Terre Haute.


“It is a momentous day for the state of Indiana as we celebrate Elanco’s decision to establish its global headquarters in central Indiana, positioning itself for future growth and consolidation in the Hoosier state and creating hundreds of high-paying jobs for Hoosiers,” said Governor Eric J. Holcomb. “Elanco is an important asset to Indiana – a leader in our growing agbioscience sector, which is poised to grow and continue innovating. We are thrilled with the direction of Elanco’s future and the transformational impact its growth will have on the agbioscience sector, the downtown Indianapolis footprint, and most importantly, the lives of Hoosier workers.”


Elanco plans to break ground on the new headquarters in the first half of 2021. Construction should be complete in the next two to three years.


The city of Indianapolis will help increase accessibility to the site through the construction of a new, two-way bridge across the White River at the current location of Henry Street. In addition, the city and state will partner in the development of a new pedestrian bridge connecting both banks of the White River.

Fountaintown man charged in incident with pregnant woman, animal

A Fountaintown man has been charged in Hancock County with battery / bodily injury of a pregnant woman and animal cruelty.


Matthew Seaman, 22, was arrested after deputies were called to a home November 24.  The woman involved said Seaman had kicked a dog that threw up and then pushed her and she said at one point something hit her in the stomach.


Seaman admitted to throwing a drink in the woman’s face and said he kicked the dog off the porch.

Seaman was granted a $2000 cash bond at his initial court appearance earlier this week.


Sunbeam has recalled 6-Quart Express Crock Multi-Cooker

Sunbeam has recalled more than 940,000 of their 6-Quart Express Crock Multi-Cookers, according to the manufacturer.


The recalled crock-pot can pressurize when the lid is not fully locked and may cause the lid to suddenly detach while the crock-pot is in use, allowing hot food and liquid to eject from the crock-pot and burn the user.


“Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled Crock-Pot in pressure cooker mode, but may continue to use for slow cooking and sautéing,” Sunbeam said. “Consumers should contact Crock-Pot immediately to obtain a free replacement lid.  Consumers who continue using the multi-cooker in pressure cooker mode while waiting for the replacement lid should be certain the lid is securely turned to the fully locked position by aligning the arrow on the lid with the lock symbol on the base.”


The crock-pots were sold in the U.S. at Walmart, Target, and other stores nationwide and on Amazon and other online retailers between July 2017 and Nov. 2020. 


The crock-pots were made between July 1, 2017 and Oct. 1, 2018 with date codes K196JN through K365JN and L001JN through L273JN. The date code is engraved on one of the prongs of the plug and on the bottom of the base.


Sunbeam says it has received 99 reports of burn injuries, ranging in severity from first-degree to third-degree burns.



A stormy Wednesday for portions of central Indiana

Strong to severe storms are possible between 2 and 8 pm Wednesday for most of central and southern Indiana.


“We’ll see a bit of a break around midday or into the early afternoon hours. As we get further along into the afternoon, a frontal boundary is going to move towards the area. We’ll see some additional showers and perhaps some thunderstorms develop along that front,” said Joe Nield, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis. 


Nield said the storms are “extremely conditional,” meaning there are certain things that have to happen in order for them to be severe. Those could be unusually warm temperatures, breaks in the clouds, or high wind gusts.


“If we get that, then we may see a few strong to severe storms during that time frame with damaging winds as the primary threat. Potentially, there could be an isolated tornado because the low-level shear is so strong,” said Nield.


After 8 pm Wednesday, Nield said the rain moves out. Skies will be sunny and high temperatures will be in the 50s across Indiana for Thursday through Sunday.


“The next chance for precipitation comes on Sunday afternoon. We may see a snow shower Sunday night into Monday. We’re watching a system that, depending on how it develops, could bring us some snow. As of right now, there aren’t expectations for very much snow at this time,” said Nield.

High temperatures will drop into the 30s for much of the state next week. 

Crider: General Assembly kicks off 2021 session

State Sen. Michael Crider (R-Greenfield) today gathered with fellow legislators at the Statehouse for Organization Day – the ceremonial start of the 122nd Indiana General Assembly.


Organization Day includes the swearing in of new and returning members of the General Assembly, including Crider, who take the formal oath of office to begin a new Senate term. This day also marks the annual first roll call of all state lawmakers and gives each Senate and House of Representatives caucus the opportunity to organize in preparation for the 2021 legislative session.


During the first session of each General Assembly, lawmakers craft a comprehensive budget to fund government services for the next two fiscal years.

"I'm humbled to be serving another term as the state senator representing Senate District 28," Crider said. "I'm ready to keep working on issues that matter most to the Hoosiers in our community and those that will have a positive impact on our state."


As the 2021 session gets underway, Crider encourages residents of Senate District 28 to contact him with any questions or comments they may have by email at or by phone at 800-382-9467.