On May 27, about 6:58 p.m., Ripley County law enforcement units were dispatched to a possible intoxicated or impaired driver operating a Chevrolet Spark with Ohio license plates traveling west on State Road 46 from S.R. 101 in Penntown. The 911 caller described the vehicle as being all over the road, according to a Batesville Police Department press release.
About 7:05 p.m., BPD Cpl. Ryan Metcalf observed the vehicle traveling westbound on S.R. 46 near S.R. 129, and he was able to get behind the suspect vehicle and observed it traveling left of the center line. As he attempted to make a traffic stop, the vehicle continued left of center into oncoming traffic and collided with the rear axle of an eastbound 2012 Pertbilt semi-tractor trailer. The collision occurred on S.R. 46 just west of East Pearl Street.
Further investigation revealed that the vehicle was being operated by Michael Watkins, 34, Wilmington, Ohio. He was accompanied by a front seat passenger, Justin Walton, 26, Maineville, Ohio. The semi was operated by Thomas Hendricks, 48, North Vernon.
Batesville Fire & EMS along with Ripley County medics responded to the scene. Walton was transported to Margaret Mary Health for minor injuries, and Watkins was also transported there with severe, but nonlife-threatening injuries. Hendricks was not injured.
Metcalf was assisted at the scene by BPD Patrolmen Jamie Straber and Trevor Comer and Ripley County Sheriff’s Office deputies. The investigation is ongoing and toxicology results are pending in the case.