GAS CITY — A Greenfield man was identified Tuesday as the victim of a fatal three-vehicle collision that happened nearly a month ago in Grant County.
Kevin B. Daugherty, 51, of Greenbrook Court, died on impact July 20 on Interstate 69 near Gas City. Daugherty was not married and had no children; his mother lives in Anderson.
It took more than three weeks to identify Daugherty due to the severity of the accident. Daugherty’s car was crushed between two semi-trailer trucks, and the wreckage burst into flames.
Authorities had to rely on DNA testing to make a formal identification.
Grant County Coroner Stephen Dorsey said Daugherty was traveling southbound after having worked a shift at the Marion General Motors plant. Construction traffic on the interstate had caused traffic to slow when a semi struck his car from the rear. The momentum of the collision propelled Daugherty’s vehicle into the rear of another semi.
Dorsey ruled the cause of death accidental, due to blunt force trauma and decapitation. The fire made for difficult immediate identification.
While a wallet was found in the vehicle and Daugherty was the only one in the car, state law requires identification through fingerprints, DNA, dental record analysis or identification by a family member.
The condition of Daugherty’s body after the accident required the Indiana State Police to perform a DNA analysis in Indianapolis.
Because Dorsey was able to contact Daugherty’s family with information from the wallet, he was able to get a toothbrush from his Greenfield home. Dorsey said the DNA from a bone in Daugherty’s foot matched the DNA on the toothbrush.
Daugherty was a forklift driver at Marion’s GM metal stamping plant.
“He was in the process of trying to move to Marion,” Dorsey said.
Daugherty’s body remained at Marion General Hospital until identification could be made, according to the Chronicle-Tribune in Marion.
Another driver in the accident was also injured, according to the Chronicle-Tribune. Brad Anderson, 40, Danville, was flown to Wishard Hospital in Indianapolis with burns, though he was later listed in good condition.
The driver of the first semi, James Ilari of Louisville, Ky., helped Anderson out of his burning semi following the crash and assisted in cutting off his seatbelt. Ilari was uninjured.
The crash caused the interstate to be shut down several hours.