Crash victim was ‘just a light in a room’

Peggy Brune, left, and her daughter, Rachel Scott, went to Florida with Scott’s family shortly after Christmas. Scott said it was a wonderful trip and is thankful the family had the time together. (Submitted photo)

By Kristy Deer

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HANCOCK COUNTY — A woman who died early Sunday morning in a two-car crash on U.S. 52 near New Palestine was on her way to church when the crash occurred, her daughter said.

Peggy Brune, 69, New Palestine, was driving east on U.S. 52 when an approaching vehicle crossed the center line and struck her car head-on, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department said. Her daughter, Rachel Scott, said Peggy was headed to a service at Faith Baptist Church in Morristown.

“My son said it best: ‘Grandma got all dressed up and was headed to church to hear about Jesus and see all of her friends, but she got to meet Jesus instead,’” Scott said.

Peggy was a grandmother to four grandsons who were the light of her world and was always a positive force in other people’s lives, her daughter said.

“She was always the first person to go anywhere with you whether it was good or bad,” Scott said. “She’d go to the football game or the funeral home; she would never say ‘no’ to anybody.”

Known for her contagious laugh, Peggy had a great sense of humor and traveled recently with her daughter’s family to Florida, where they had a wonderful vacation together, Scott said.

“She was just a light in a room and loved to play games,” her daughter said. “The vacation was precious. It had actually been canceled several times because of COVID, but it all worked out finally. She cracked us up the whole way there and back.”

Peggy had a volunteer’s heart, Rachel said. Her mother was always giving her time to help others through her church and other churches in the area.

First-responders were called to the 2800 block of West U.S. 52 around 7:45 a.m. Sunday. The location is about two miles east of New Palestine.

The crash involved a 2019 Chevrolet Equinox occupied by two people, and a 2012 Ford Escape driven by Brune. All parties involved were transported by ambulance to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. Brune was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Evidence at the scene indicates Brune tried to maneuver her vehicle to the shoulder of the road to avoid the oncoming Chevrolet. The impact occurred in the eastbound lane of U.S. 52. Investigators are not certain why the Chevrolet crossed into the path of Brune’s vehicle.

The driver and passenger of the Chevrolet suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The driver was identified as Michael L. Wilcox, 66, Fountaintown. The passenger was identified as his son, Michael A. Wilcox, 45, Fountaintown.

The driver is cooperating with the investigation, said Capt. Robert Harris, public information officer for the sheriff’s department.

Drugs and alcohol do not appear to be a factor, he said. The investigation is ongoing.

U.S. 52 was closed for about two hours while officers from the county’s Fatal Accident Crash Team investigated.