GREENFIELD — Police are still investigating the cause of a head-on collision that sent three people to the hospital with serious injuries early Monday and snarled rush-hour traffic.
Several cars swerved to avoid the Pontiac G6 driven by Richard N. Meek Jr., 19, of Indianapolis, as it crossed into oncoming traffic on U.S. 40 near the intersection with CR 250W around 7:50 a.m., police said.
Witnesses told police that Meek, who was eastbound on U.S. 40, slowly drifted into the westbound lanes until he finally collided with a Ford Taurus driven by Richard Riddle, 68, of Greenfield.
Police were still interviewing witnesses Monday afternoon and were unclear whether Meek hit the brakes before the crash or was still going full speed.
“He may very well have went to sleep,” said Lt. Jeff Rasche, a member of the city/county crash investigation team.
Investigators are planning to review information from both cars’ black-box data recorders in hopes of determining what happened in the moments leading up to the accident.
Alcohol is not suspected to have been a factor, police said.
Meek told officers at the hospital after the accident that he did not remember what happened. He said he and his sister, Shelby Meek, 14, were on their way to Greenfield Central Junior High School, where Shelby is an eighth-grader. Meek is also a former G-C student. The accident crushed the front of Meek’s car, while Riddle’s car received less-serious damage.
Police believe Riddle might have been trying to swerve out of the way of the oncoming car, as the accident occurred in the break-down lane of westbound U.S. 40.
All three were injured in the crash, but police described Riddle’s and Shelby Meek’s injuries as nonlife-threatening. Richard Meek was more seriously injured, police said.
The investigation is being referred to the Hancock County prosecutor’s office.
All three victims were driven by ambulance to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.
Both the eastbound and westbound lanes of U.S. 40 were closed for nearly two hours.