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TRAFALGAR, Ind. (WISH) — In a lesson of perseverance and healing, a Trafalgar teenager is finally home after a serious crash in early August that almost took her life and injured two other teens.

The crash happened on I-65 when Megan Murray and two of her friends were on their way to show cattle at the Indiana State Fair.

Murray spent 98 days between four different hospitals. She had the most severe injuries of the three girls involved in the crash. Despite all of the reasons Megan could have given for the negative situation she found herself in, she pushed through with positivity and now is reunited with her entire family for the first time in more than three months.

The last time Murray pulled into her Trafalgar driveway, the leaves were still green. Now, she is a year older and lifetime wiser.

“I have had a couple hard days where I have been like, all right, I just want to leave and I want to go home,” said the 18-year-old woman.

After the crash that ejected Megan from the truck on I-65, she suffered a long list of injuries including a broken leg, pelvis, ribs and fingers; a fractured and dislocated elbow; and a brain bleed and other internal injuries. She needed about 10 surgeries and 45 units of blood over the next 98 days.

Photo courtesy: Michelle Murray

“When I finally asked the question of why am I in the hospital I was told I was in a car wreck. But, funny story, I thought I was in a car wreck with my dad and I that were in a car wreck and so I didn’t find out until a little bit after that that it was all of us,” Murray said.

Her memory stops the day before the crash on Aug 2 and picks back up halfway through September. However, her mom, Michelle Murray, remembers every second of what became her worst nightmare.

“Early on, I was trying to prepare myself for everything, trying to prepare myself for if she didn’t come home. That was really hard,” Michelle Murray said.

Photo courtesy: Michelle Murray

While Megan’s progress has been nothing short of a miracle, the road to recovery has not been easy.

“The next several weeks was full of ups and downs, and the unknown still. It probably wasn’t until Week 7 when they started to bring her off of all the sedation medicines that we realized that ‘OK, I think we have kind of gotten over most of the big hurdles,'” Michelle Murray said of her daughter.

Photo courtesy: Michelle Murray

Despite having every reason to fall into negativity, Megan Murray has fought tooth and nail to heal and somehow found a way to stay positive.

“Because I know from negative I won’t get any better, and I can’t afford to not get better,” Megan Murray said.

Now, the 18-year-old can mostly get around on her own with the help of a walker while she continues therapy to rebuild her strength; she only needs a wheelchair if she will be on her feet for long periods of time.

“I prayed every day, every hour, sometimes every minute of every hour, and He answered them for us,” Michelle Murray said.

“My perspective on life has changed a lot. It is one minute, you are here, and the next minute, you could be gone, and I lived that,” Megan Murray said.

The high schooler still needs two surgeries to remove her gallbladder and to remove screws from her elbow. She isn’t letting this injury slow down her goals. In addition to continuing to heal, Megan Murray still plans to graduate in May with her class and has hopes of attending her dream school of Texas A&M in the fall.

On Saturday, a dinner benefitting Megan will be at the Johnson County Shrine Club from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Tickets must be purchased in advance at J&L Feed or the Johnson County Shrine Club. Cost is $10 per adult, and $6 per child 6 and younger. The event will have door prizes, 50/50 raffles, and a silent auction.

Remembering Neil Sego

TRAFALGAR, Ind. (WISH) — Neil Sego was a beloved father, husband, brother, son, uncle, friend and coach.

The list of roles he filled in the lives of loved ones is lengthy. But one stood out, according to his brother Scott Sego.

Neil, the oldest of five, stepped in as a paternal figure for his brothers and sister after their father passed away, guiding the family through grief and darkness, Scott told News 8.

“[Neil] was always the rock,” he said. “He was always the leader. He took over for dad. We just, like ducklings, followed behind him.”

Scott was only two years younger than Neil but called him his childhood “defender,” recalling how he took him to school and intervened when he was bullied.

On Friday, Scott stepped in as a father figure for Neil’s sons. He attended senior night at Indian Creek High School for his 17-year-old nephew the day after Neil was killed in a tragic accident near Lansing, Michigan.

Six men, all from central Indiana, were on board a single-engine aircraft when it crashed Thursday around 9 a.m. en route to Capital Region International Airport.

The cause of the accident remained under investigation Friday night.

Three men were killed, according to the Clinton County Sheriff’s office:
Neil Sego, 46, of Trafalgar
John Lowe, 51, of Greenwood
Timothy Clark, 67, of Franklin

Three survivors were rushed to a Lansing hospital in critical condition:
Joel Beavins, 48, of Franklin 
Aaron Blackford, 42, of Frankton 
Zechariah Bennett, 27, of Plainfield 

Fearing the worst, Neil and Scott’s youngest brother began driving to Michigan as soon as he learned about the plane crash, before authorities had identified the victims.

Neil died beside his best friend, John Lowe, his family said.

The two men, both employees at The Engineering Collaborative, were traveling for work and planned to return in time for Neil to attend senior night and the Indian Creek football game.

Instead of jerseys, more than 20 members of Neil’s extended family wore “In Loving Memory of Neil Sego” sweatshirts to Friday night’s game.

Dozens of young wrestlers and football players Neil had coached also considered him “family,” Scott told News 8.

“[Neil] never met a stranger,” he said. “He had hundreds of friends, everywhere. We don’t feel like he’s really gone.”

Neil’s wife, Nicole, thanked loved ones and community members for their prayers and condolences in a statement shared with News 8.

“I am overwhelmed by and deeply appreciative of all the love from everyone,” Nicole wrote. “Neil touched so many lives. He was a wonderful husband, father, son, brother and friend. Please keep our families and the families of the others who lost their lives in this tragic accident in your prayers. RIP my love.”

Neil Sego, 46, is survived by his wife Nicole, sons Ethan and Owen, and hundreds of friends. (Photo: Nicole Sego)

TRAFALGAR, Ind. (WISH) — A boy was taken into custody at his home Monday afternoon after putting threatening messages on Instagram about Indian Creek High School, the town’s police chief said. 

Trafalgar Police Chief Charles Roberts said the messages were sent about 3:15 p.m. Monday. Police quickly learned of them and visited the boy’s home, where his mother gave permission for a search. Police found no guns at the home but later took the boy into custody and to the Johnson County juvenile detention center. It was not known whether the boy would face any charges, but, Roberts said, the boy was already on probation. 

Roberts said Monday’s incident was the third in the past week for the Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson school district. All three incidents involved different students. School officials informed parents of the latest incident Monday afternoon through an automated call.

The superintendent and assistant superintendent of the district did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment Monday afternoon.

Roberts said the two messages contained photos of the boy and another juvenile. 

The first message said: Can I get a RIP because the school’s probably gonna get shot up, LOL.

The second message said: If you’re gonna shoot up the school, don’t tell anyone and when it happens you won’t get a (expletive) ton of cops.”

On Tuesday, police were added at Indian Creek High School after a student told another student he was going to bring a gun to school and kill him, according to the Daily Journal, a newsgathering partner of News 8. A parent of the student who was threatened told local police on the afternoon of Feb. 18 about the threat which happened during the school day in the “recent past,” principal Luke Skobel told the Daily Journal. School officials would not divulge many details because the incident is still under investigation.

Trafalgar Police on Feb. 18 searched the home of the boy who made the threat, but found no weapons. His parents, who were cooperative, said he does not have access to weapons, Skobel told the Daily Journal. The student is a sophomore at the school, he said.

Trafalgar police notified the school of the threat immediately, and the school notified parents at all Indian Creek schools on the night of Feb. 18. 

“I do know that social media played a role,” Skobel said.

No additional information on the three incidents was immediately available.

TRAFALGAR, Ind. (WISH) – A Trafalgar man has been charged following a shooting that injured two people, according to our partners at the Daily Journal. 

Kevin Farley, 38, faces a criminal reckless charge after a fight on April 27 resulted in the shooting of his wife and another man.

The shooting was reported at 9:41 p.m. on Friday, April 27 on Raymond Avenue, just east of Trafalgar Town Hall, according to the Johnson County Communications Center.

Documents state that Farley got into an argument with a man named Jared Francis, who is the boyfriend of Lyndsay Scott, an ex-girlfriend of Farley.

Farley had shown up at the apartment complex where Scott lived, court documents say. He left the area, prompting Francis and Scott to drive by the residence of Farley to confront him. After eventually finding him outside of the residence, Farley brandished a shotgun. Francis then grabbed the weapon and punched Farley in the face. The gun then went off.

Both Francis and Farley’s wife, Casey Farley, who was nearby and attempting to break up the fight, were shot. She was struck in the abdomen. 

At the time of the shooting, Francis and Farley were transported to the hospital. Casey Farley, who is stil in the hospital, is said to be in fair condition. There was no information available on Francis’ condition.

TRAFALGAR, Ind. (WISH) — Two people remained in critical condition on Saturday after a double shooting in Trafalgar, a town in southwestern Johnson County. 

The shooting was reported at 9:41 p.m. Friday on Raymond Avenue, just east of Trafalgar Town Hall, according to the Johnson County Communications Center.

Documents state that 38-year-old Kevin Farley got into an argument with a man named Jared Francis, who is the boyfriend of Lyndsay Scott, an ex-girlfriend of Farley.

Farley had shown up at the apartment complex where Scott lived, court documents say. He left the area, prompting Francis and Scott to drive by the residence of Farley to confront him. After eventually finding him outside of the residence, Farley brandished a shotgun. Francis then grabbed the weapon and punched Farley in the face before receiving a shot in the abdomen. Farley’s wife, Casey Farley, was also struck in the abdomen as she attempted to break up the fight.

The victims were taken by helicopter to Indianapolis hospitals to undergo surgery. 

Kevin Farley is currently being held at the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office on charges of criminal recklessness.  

24-Hour News 8 spoke with about a dozen people in the homes around the location of the shooting. They all said it is typically extremely quiet. It’s a housing development that began in the last 10 years and continues to grow today. A lot of families live in the area, too. 

One neighbor said he helped stabilize one of the victims until first responders got to the scene Friday evening. 

FRANKLIN, Ind. (AP) – An Indiana county is planning to install three permanent gates that can be used to close roads that frequently flood to prevent drivers from going into floodwaters.

Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Col. Randy Werden told the Daily Journal that his department has few options to make sure drivers stay out of floodwaters.

Werden said sections of County Road 250S, County Road 400S and Greensburg Road are all trouble spots during and after heavy rain.

He said if the new barriers keep drivers out of the water, the county could consider adding additional ones at other roads.

Werden said in past years that emergency workers have been called multiple times to assist drivers who have gone around barriers or simply moved them off to the side of the road. He said such actions are dangerous to both the drivers and the emergency workers helping them.

According to Werden, the new barriers will save time for deputies. They’ll be able to close a road and return to paroling for other areas during a storm.

The barriers will cost up to $3,000, Werden said. He added that the goal will be to have the barriers installed in the next month, in time for spring rains.

Numerous vehicles became stranded in high water on roads around Indiana during flooding last month that resulted in the governor declaring a disaster emergency for 35 of the state’s 92 counties.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It was this time in 2016 that a startling study hit the headlines from the Learning Policy Institute: Indiana ranking in the bottom five states for teacher recruitment and retention.

The good news is many local districts are now planning well in advance to fill those teaching positions, but say they’re still struggling.

Kent DeKoninck is the superintendent of Greenwood Community Schools. He reported 20.5 open teaching positions this summer, with one industrial technology teaching position opening up just this week. Assistant Superintendent  Andy Cline from the Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson United School Corporation, or Indian Creek schools in Trafalgar, reported 13 openings in his staff of 113 certified educators.

The good news? Dekoninick said all but the recent industrial technology position has been filled. He attributed part of the success to the community in Greenwood, conveniently located just 20 minutes south of downtown Indianapolis. The story can be very different in more rural parts of the state.

“We’ve had individuals who have been great candidates who have taken the position,” Cline said, “and given it up because something closer to home came up.”

Cline said his teachers drive into Tragalfar from Bloomington, Columbus and Indianapolis. Due to some pre-emptive hiring in the spring, Cline said 12 of the 13 open positions are filled. But it took a lot of work and planning.

“It’s become a chess game,” he said. “It’s much different than even six years ago, five years ago where we could post a position and you’d have 25 applicants for a math position. Now it’s not that easy.”

So why is it so hard to keep teachers or hire new ones? Both administrators said public policy, poor state testing assessments, lower salaries and a lack of regard for teachers are leading to fewer students picking the major.

“We do have a shortage, and it’s just going to continue to get worse, not better,” DeKoninck said.

Cline serves on an advisory board with the Indiana University School of Education in Bloomington that helps channel its education graduates into school districts in need around the state. He said a potential solution for the teacher shortage ironically starts back in the classroom, bringing more students into education as a career.

“I think that the Department of Education and even the universities, whether it’s Indiana State or IU Bloomington, they’ve already tried to get out and are out in front of this,” he said. They’re “working with school districts and advisories, or reaching out to individual districts to learn what we need to use to market and attract new teachers or new teacher candidates to the districts in Indiana.”

As for what administrators do if they simply can’t fill a teaching position, they said, they have several options, including turning a licensed substitute full time, rehiring a retired teacher or even finding someone who will pick up an “emergency license” that’s just valid for a year.

But the superintendent staff members admitted, those fresh teachers have a lot to learn for themselves, all while trying to effectively educate students.

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BROWN COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — Authorities have cancelled a Silver Alert issued for a missing man.

The cancellation was issued by Indiana State Police just after 9 a.m. Saturday morning.

79-year-old Robert Gasper was last seen Friday in Trafalgar, Indiana and was believed to be in danger.

Details on where he was found or in what condition haven’t been released.

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TRAFALGAR, Ind. (WISH) — Johnson County authorities are asking people to be on the lookout for scammers. They say they receive reports on a daily basis. The latest victims are out more than $5,000, and they say the crook was so persuasive that not even their bank detected it.

Lowell and Emma Lou Flake thought they had won the American Dream Giveaway. But instead, their dream turned out to be a nightmare.

“They had $3.5 million waiting for me and a Mercedes car with my name on it,” Emma Lou explained.

But before they could collect their prizes, there was of course, a catch. They say the thief needed them to send money to cover costs.

“$1,500 in taxes, we paid that and then $270 more because $1,500 was not enough and there was a mistake, so $270 more,” she explained.

After wiring the money, still, no Mercedes and definitely no $3.5 million. That’s where the Flakes drew the line. Until Lowell got a phone call from the scammer.

“Told him how much of jerk he was and I wanted my money back that he stole from us and that’s when he sent us each a check,” he said.

They say the person behind the scam sent them two realistic checks; $4,500 each. They say the checks were drawn off of Chase bank, where they also bank. The Flakes say the checks were so convincing that not even their banker detected fraud.

“I went in and they said it had cleared. So, I got $3,500 out and sent it to him. A thousand dollars stayed in my account,” she said.

Johnson County Sheriff Doug Cox is all too familiar with what happens next.

“So you think you’re a big winner and in about a weeks time, your’re going to find out that not only is the check that they sent you is no good, the check that you sent them has already been cashed. You’re going to be out the money that you sent them,” he warned.

That’s exactly what happened to the Flakes. The $4,500 check was returned. They now have to repay their bank. In a large majority of these cases, fraudsters aren’t even in the country. Sheriff Cox says the chances of getting the money back are slim. His best advice is to hang up, because he says the crooks are persuasive.

TRAFALGAR, Ind. (WISH) – The father of the man whose home was raided Thursday in connection to the Lauren Spierer disappearance says police have it all wrong and his son is innocent.

24-Hour News 8 reporter Elizabeth Choi spoke with Doug Wagers Friday. His son, Justin Wagers, is currently in the Johnson County Jail on charges unrelated to the Lauren Spierer case.

Doug says the public image of his son; from the mug shot, to the sex crime convictions and now, a possible connection to the disappearance of Spierer, inaccurately portrays his son. He agreed to talk because he wants people to know who he says the real Justin Wagers is.

Doug shares a photo of Justin; arms around his family. He says this, not a mugshot, is a better representation of his son. He describes Justin as a family guy, who loves the outdoors.

“He’s courtesy, worked. He’s quiet, to himself,” he described.

But that didn’t stop authorities from zeroing in on places where Justin has stayed. Police raided the home where Doug lives along with his parents in Trafalgar, he says. It’s a home where he says Justin visited often. Doug says for six hours, police searched the home, campers on the property, sheds and even Justin’s truck.

“I want them to investigate. I want them to do a thorough investigation. I want them to know without a reasonable doubt,” he said.

Doug claims during the raid, a cadaver dog picked up on something coming from a camper. He says authorities used shovels to dig the area around the camper, but found nothing. According to Doug, the previous owner had died of natural causes in the camper and that’s what the dogs picked up on.

Police have not confirmed that they raided the Trafalgar home.

When asked if he believes his son is responsible for Lauren Spierer’s disappearance, Doug says, “Indecent exposure to a pedophile sex offender to Indiana’s number one murder suspect. Where’s the evidence of that?”

In Johnson County, Justin Wagers is behind bars. Police accuse him of being a serial flasher, exposing himself to women. Doug says they have the wrong guy.

“Bald headed, this that, drive a white truck, whatever. That fits a lot of people. I shaved my head one time, when I was younger. A lot of people shave their heads. Put them in a vehicle with a shaved head, a lot of people look the same from a distance,” he said.

Doug believes that police are profiling his son after an indecent exposure charge. He says in that incident, Justin was using the bathroom outside near a school, when somebody complained.