Police say a Mississippi woman committed suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot wound Tuesday morning, following an unsuccessful attempt to end her life in an automobile crash.
According to information from Decatur County Sheriff Greg Allen, the incident was reported shortly before 10 a.m. Tuesday when a mail carrier discovered a woman dead in her vehicle on County Road 400 South, behind Harris City Stone Quarry.
The deceased was later identified as Billie Culpepper, 69, of Collinsworth, Miss.
Investigators believe Culpepper purposefully drove her 2011 Hyundai sport utility vehicle off the roadway, striking a tree. The collision resulted in significant front-end damage to the vehicle, but Culpepper survived the crash, suffering only minor injuries. Sheriff Allen said Culpepper was found wearing her seatbelt and the driver’s side airbag had deployed after the vehicle impacted the tree.
Investigators from the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department and the Indiana State Police determined Culpepper fatally shot herself in the chest with a handgun following the crash.
A suicide note was located in the vehicle.
Culpepper had reportedly finished a visit with her sister in Indianapolis prior to the incident. Interviews with family members indicated the woman had been grieving the recent death of her husband and had difficulty in dealing with the loss.
An autopsy was conducted in Indianapolis Wednesday morning.
Culpepper’s remains will be returned to Mississippi. Investigators have ruled out the possibility of foul play in the incident.
Sheriff Allen noted no signs of evasive maneuvering were found by investigators at the scene, leading police to believe Culpepper intentionally struck the tree at a high rate of speed.
The incident was investigated by DCSD Detective Joe Loyd and additional detectives and crime scene investigators with the Indiana State Police. The Letts Volunteer Fire Department, Decatur County EMS and Decatur County Coroner were also at the scene.
Contact: Brent Brown 812-663-3111 x7056