Indianapolis Man Dies in Median Crossover Accident

An Indianapolis man was northbound on State Road 37 when his pickup truck
drifted across the median and into southbound traffic around 10 p.m. Joseph
T. Birtchman, 33-years-old was traveling just north of Bloomington near
Crossover Road when the accident happened. Birtchman’s pickup collided
with an oncoming mini-van driven by Victoria E. Wielosinski from Bloomington.
Birtchman died as a result of the accident, and Wielosinski was taken to
IU Health for injuries that are considered non-life threatening. The accident investigation
is ongoing.

Are Median Barriers the Answer to Median Crossover Accidents?

At the location of the accident above, State Road 37 is a four-lane divided
highway, with a grassy median. Fortunately, it appears the other driver
will survive this accident, but median crossover crashes often result
in unnecessary fatalities or life-altering injuries for individuals in
both vehicles. Median crossovers where one car hits another are almost
always head-on collisions, which we know are the most dangerous and deadly
of all accident types. People involved in head-on collisions are at high
risk for head injuries, brain injuries, and spinal injuries, as well as
other types of blunt force injuries to the body.

In many cases, counties have turned to median barriers as a way of preventing
such deadly crossover accidents. Such barriers are said to decrease the
number of accidents by up to 70% by preventing vehicles from simply drifting
over into traffic traveling in the opposite direction. Three types of
barrier systems exist:

  • Rigid Barriers (Concrete)
  • Semi-Rigid Barriers (Guardrails)
  • Flexible Barriers (Cables)

All types have a positive impact on decreasing head-on collisions due to
vehicle crossovers; however, there are also tradeoffs related to cost,
aesthetics, and safety. On SR 37, concrete barriers would certainly change
the atmosphere of the roadway in a way that most people would find undesirable.
Some rural counties where crossover collisions are common choose the barriers
anyway. The likelihood of deadly accidents simply outweighs other considerations.
In other locations, such rigid barriers may make much less sense.

Cost is a fairly straightforward consideration, but there are safety tradeoffs
for roadways with barriers. The main concern is for emergency workers
and vehicles who have a much more difficult time getting to accidents
and injured victims when barriers are in place. This means rescue efforts
will lose critical minutes in efforts to save seriously injured drivers
and passengers.

One thing is for sure, median crossover accidents are deadly, especially
when compounded with too-common driver risks like excess speed, driving
under the influence, or not wearing seatbelts. Again, these risky behaviors
can occur more frequently with drivers on rural roads. In short, Indiana
roads can provide a perfect storm for crossover accidents, both on two
lane roads and four lane divided highways. If you have lost a loved one
as a result of another driver’s wrongdoing, the
motor vehicle accident attorneys at Wagner Reese will fight to ensure the victim’s family is taken
care of. We don’t rest until justice is served. Call us today for
a FREE consultation at (888) 204-8440.