GEORGETOWN, Ind. (WISH) — Two people from Salem, Indiana, died in a Friday morning crash on State Road 56 in eastern Washington County, state police say.
Ryan A. Fisher, 37, and the passenger, Rebecca Jean Simmons, also 37, died in the crash.
Troopers were called the two-vehicle crash about 7:50 a.m. Friday just east of Shields Road near Georgetown. The town of 3,798 people is about 2 miles northeast of the county seat of Salem. It’s about a 90-minute drive from downtown Indianapolis.
Investigators think Fisher was driving a gray 2009 Chevrolet Aveo car when it collided head-on with a red 2005 Chevrolet Silverado truck. The crash happened in the westbound passing lane, which is the center lane of a three-lane section of State Road 56. Troopers think the Aveo was eastbound and tried to pass other eastbound vehicles when it hit the westbound pickup.
The truck’s driver, Todd M. Albertson, 29, was flown to UofL Hospital in Louisville with life-threatening injuries. A news release from state police did not say where Albertson lives.
Have you ever heard of a pharmacy desert? You might be living in the middle of one and not even realize it.
In a couple weeks, state law will change to try to combat the issue.
Brenda Stutz depends on prescriptions daily. At the John H. Boner Community Center in Indianapolis, she said her prescriptions are “very important. I have a lot of physical issues.”
It isn’t easy for her to get to her closest pharmacy. “Being that I’m physically handicapped and can’t stand the heat, especially in the summertime, it is very difficult for me to get back and forth to the pharmacy.”
Lonavee Phelps relies on her meds, too. The 82-year-old gets her medicine via home delivery, but her friends count on her to drive them to the pharmacy because it’s too far to walk.
Without her car, Phelps said, “It would be very hard. I’d have to walk. I’d have to walk that mile there and back.”
Pharmacy deserts caught Indiana lawmakers’ attention, too. In two weeks, a law goes into effect that urges lawmakers to create a summer study to address pharmacy deserts. The study, some lawmakers hope, will lead to more pharmacies across the state.
State Rep. Karen Engleman is a Republican from Georgetown, a town of 3,200 people about 7 miles northwest of Louisville, Ky. Engleman said, “There are a lot of pharmacy deserts. People on medication a lot of times aren’t able to go a long distance. Some of them can’t drive and they have no way to get their medicine. So, this is a very good bill.”
State Sen. Jean Leising is a Republican from Oldenburg, a town of 650 people about 25 miles northwest of Cincinnati. She said, “I represent a large rural district, so anything we can do to make life simpler for individuals, is always beneficial.”
The law specifically mentions neighborhoods with at least 25 percent of people below the poverty level in urban and rural areas
State Sen. Michael Crider, a Republican from the city of Greenfield, about 7 miles east of Indianapolis, said, “It’s a challenge in some areas as you see businesses move out. In other areas, you see pharmacies right across the street from each other. The goal is to balance that out well.”
The law is good news for Carol Bonner-Mundy, who has lived with blindness for 15 years. She said she believes the summer study will help.
Mundy said, “I think everyone needs their medicine. It’s very important.”
Rape kits are sitting untested across the state.
Some haven’t been touched in years.
Now, we’re just days away from the state laying the groundwork for a rape-kit database.
State Rep. Karen Engleman, a Republican from Georgetown in southeast Indiana, said, “This is very important because people that had the courage to come in and report a rape and the rape kit just got put aside and there was no closure for them.”
State Sen. Michael Crider, a Republican from Greenfield, said recently that Lake County and a couple other counties have reviewed their untested rape kits and sent them to the state labs for testing.
“We’re starting to see those matches happen. That’s really what we want to see happening,” Crider said.
In March, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed Crider’s bill into law that requires a statewide sexual assault response team to research rape-kit testing and tracking databases. The team’s goal is to figure out which agency would manage and maintain it, and how to fund it. State agencies have until December to get the report finished. Crider said the 2019 legislative session would examine a request to pay for the tracking system.
Crider said he wants victims to be able to track their kit, too. “Going forward, I’m hopeful, anytime there’s a question about the number of kits that might exist in the state, we’ll pretty much know where they’re at and what the status is.”
Kristen Pulice is chief operating officer of the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault. They’re meeting in July with the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council to start talks.
“What would it look like and what other states might be doing. At least that’s what we hope to get out of that,” Pulice said.
“This is not the end-all-be-all,” she said. “But, we are listening. We believe them and we are still moving forward an will get more done for them.”
National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline from RAINN: 800-656-4673.
Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault