Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

February 1, 2013

UPDATE: Man dies after crash in Tipton County

Police unsure whether exposure or injury caused death

By Scott Smith
Kokomo Tribune

Tipton — An Atlanta, Ind., man died early Friday morning after a single-vehicle crash on Tipton County Road 400 East, near Tipton County Road 550 South, Indiana State Police investigators reported.

The Tipton County Coroner's Office identified the man Friday as 22-year-old Joseph Richards.

Investigators said Richards lost control of his 1990 Dodge Dakota pickup sometime between midnight and 3:51 a.m. as he was driving northbound on 400 East. The truck went down an embankment and came to rest on its top in a drainage ditch.

Police said the ditch contained about 3 feet of water.

Police said Richards managed to get out of the truck, and walked about half-mile in the bitter cold before collapsing in the roadway. Temperatures dropped into the low single digits overnight, and a wind chill advisory was in effect.

Another driver, Michael Ducheteau, 20, Alexandria, struck Richards’ body as it lay in the roadway around 3:51 a.m. Investigators said they believe Richards was already dead by the time he was struck by the other driver’s 2004 Pontiac Grand Am.

Police said they were investigating whether Richards died from an injury sustained in the initial crash or because of exposure to subzero wind chill temperatures.

Richards was pronounced dead at the scene by Tipton County Coroner Robert Nichols.

Scott Smith can be reached at 765-454-8569 or at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com

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