GREENFIELD — Police believe a woman killed in a car accident Tuesday morning was trying to avoid a small animal in the roadway when she swerved into oncoming traffic, causing a head-on collision.
Eva Smalley, 49, of Fountaintown, was killed instantly in the accident in the 2100 block of South Ind. 9 around 8:30 a.m.
Smalley was northbound on Ind. 9 on her way to work at Hancock Wellness in Greenfield when, witnesses said, a small animal darted in front of her 2006 Saturn Ion.
Smalley swerved into the southbound lane to avoid the animal. She drove into the path of a 2013 Ford F-350 pickup truck driven by Robert J. Butler, 55 from Indianapolis.
Butler told police he didn’t have time to swerve out of the way, and the vehicles collided head on. Butler was treated at the scene and released, but Smalley died from blunt-force trauma sustained in the crash. Her car ended up in a cornfield off the east side of the highway.
She was pronounced dead at the scene.
A quarter-mile stretch of Ind. 9 was closed for about four hours as police investigated the crash and worked to clear debris from the road.
Early Tuesday, friends and family members remembered a woman they said put others before herself.
Smalley had recently returned from a mission trip to Haiti with her church, said friend Angela Hardy of Knightstown.
Hardy had just recently gotten to know Smalley but said she made an impact on everyone she met.
Hardy described her as kind-hearted and generous. Smalley was always smiling and made others feel comfortable in her presence, Hardy said.
“There’s some people that just make you feel good to be near them, and she was just like that,” she said. “She’s one of those people that you know she has one of the kindest hearts you’ll encounter, and she will be missed.”