From the Ripley County Sheriff’s Department
Friday, October 13, 2023, shortly before 5:00 am, the Ripley County Sheriff’s Office began investigating a two-vehicle crash on Interstate-74 in northern Ripley County, Indiana that resulted in the death of a Cincinnati, Ohio man.
The initial investigation by Deputy Justin Batchelor, indicated that a 2000 Toyota passenger car, driven by Thomas Kotzbauer, age 80, from Cincinnati, Ohio, for an unknown reason, was stationary in the west bound driving lane on I-74, near the 151-mile-marker, with no illumination on the vehicle. A United Parcel Service (UPS) semi tractor with dual trailers, driven by Herman Akers, age 45, from West Chester, Ohio, was traveling west on I-74, and collided with Kotzbauer’s vehicle.
After the collision, both vehicles left the roadway before coming to rest. As a result of the collision, Kotzbauer sustained fatal injuries. He was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Ripley County Coroner’s Office. Akers did not sustain injuries in the crash.
The crash remains under investigation. Toxicology results are pending although alcohol and drugs are not suspected to be factors in the crash.
Thomas Kotzbauer’s family has been notified.
I-74 was closed for nearly five hours for crash investigation and cleanup.
The Ripley County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Indiana State Police, Batesville Police Department, Sunman Police Department, Batesville Fire and EMS, Affordable Todd’s Wrecker Service, and the Ripley County Coroner’s Office.