Greenfield’s Ashlea Albertson killed in car crash

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Mike Wolanin | The Republic: Ashlea Albertson, left, talks with Nelson Stewart before they competed in the All-Star Circuit of Champions TQ Midget race during the Bartholomew County Fair at the Bartholomew County Fairgrounds in Columbus, Ind., Tuesday, June 28, 2023. She was killed in a car accident Friday morning.

JACKSON COUNTY – Officials from the Indiana State Police (ISP) say a Greenfield woman, Ashlea Albertson, 24 was killed in a Friday morning car crash on Interstate 65 in Seymour. It appeared the car she was in and another vehicle were involved in an incident prior to the crash officials say.

Law enforcement from the ISP Versailles Post were called at 11:30 a.m. to investigate a two-vehicle fatal crash that occurred on I-65 northbound, just south of Seymour. Police say video footage recorded by another vehicle shows the two drivers accelerating rapidly and refusing to let one another pass.

According to the ISP, a black 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, being driven by Austin Cooper, 22, was traveling northbound in the right lane of I-65, near mile marker 48. A white 2018 GMC Terrain, being driven by 31-year-old Jacob Kelly, was traveling northbound in the left lane of the same area.

The driver of the Malibu, Cooper, officials from the ISP say, began to switch lanes, when the driver of a Terrain, Kelly, lost control of the vehicle, causing the two cars to collide. The Terrain rolled over, which caused the passenger, Albertson to be ejected.

Officials say Kelly and Albertson were both flown from the scene to University of Louisville Hospital for treatment. Albertson died at the hospital. Kelly is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Cooper and a juvenile passenger were transported to Schneck Medical Center in Seymour where they were both treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Both drivers submitted blood tests. Toxicology results are pending at this time, officials said.

Albertson was a local race car driver. Her father, Todd Albertson, shared a video telling her friends and race fans about her death Friday.

“She was a good kid and an even better person,” her father said. “Please keep my family and her fiancé and everyone going through this in your prayers… Racing is all she ever wanted to do.”

Tony Stewart, nationally know race car driver, also posted about Albertsons’ tragic passing on his Facebook page.

“Today, I lost a teammate. Ashlea Albertson had an infectious personality and could light up any room,” Stewart said. “She was a great race car driver that was involved in a road rage accident and lost her life. In the past, I’ve also gotten caught up in road rage. I hope that we can honor Ashlea by controlling what we can control on the highway. Losing her is a sobering reminder of how precious life is. Please join me in keeping her family and friends in your prayers.”

The Daily Reporter did a story with Albertson back in 2021 when she was making a name for herself in racing. She told the Daily Reporter back then that she loved working in a field dominated by men.

At the time, Albertson noted, she spent most of her free time working on her black and blue three-quarter midget car, with hot pink lettering, in a large barn at her father’s rural Greenfield home.

In May of 2021, Albertson said she got hooked on racing at an early age and hadn’t let up on the pedal ever since.

“It’s the experience behind it all; you meet so many people who become like family,” she said.

The speed is great, too.

“That’s an adrenaline rush, that’s for sure,” she said at the time.

In her first 11 years of racing her father told the Daily Reporter, Albertson had never finished outside of the top 10.

Albertson fell in love with racing at the age of 10, the first time she ever climbed behind the wheel, she had noted. A friend of her dad’s invited them to a track event where prospective drivers tested midget cars, and Albertson was hooked.

Her dad remembers the huge smile on his daughter’s face that day he told the Daily Reporter back in 2021.

“She got behind the wheel and just took off,” he said. “It was one of the coolest things I’d ever experienced.”