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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Paoli man dies following traffic accident on Indiana State Road 37 and Hancock Avenue in Mitchell

MITCHELL - FEBRUARY 16, 2024 - Paoli business man Matt Harakel Paoli, Indiana died following a traffic accident at the intersection of Spice Valley Road and Indiana State Road 37 in Mitchell Wednesday afternoon.


Harakal's employees was notified yesterday of his passing and was saddened to here the news. Harakal owns 21 North in Martinsville, and was getting ready to re-open Che Bello in Bloomington.





Photo: Firefighters from Bedford Fire Department, Marion Township, and Mitchell City Volunteer Fire Department work to free the driver of a Toyota Highlander on Wednesday afternoon


Both drivers which included Matt Harakel, Paoli, Indiana who was driving a Toyota Highlander and Bill Luttrell, Mitchell driver of the Chevrolet Express, owned by the Mitchell School Corporation was airlifted to U of L Louisville, Kentucky.


Luttrell taken first taken to a landing zone at Foamcraft by IU Lifeline ground ambulance and then by helicopter to U of L Hospital, by Stat - Flight helicopter.


Harakel, was trapped in his vehicle which took fire crews about 45 minutes to free Harakal using extrication equipment and a winch on the Bedford Rescue Engine to move his vehicle a way from the bus.


Photo: AirEvac 17 Paoli, Indiana lands at the intersection of Indiana State Road 37 and Hancock Avenue at the scene of a traffic accident


AirEvac 17, Paoli, Indiana landed at the scene to take Harakal to U of L Hospital.


Harakal later died at U of L Hospital Louisville, Ky of his injuries from the accident.


The impact of the crash sent both the Toyota Highlander and the Chevrolet Express 15 passenger bus on the opposite side of Indiana State Road 37 in the Southeast corner of Hancock Avenue.


The call to Mitchell Police Department came in at 3:05 pm with emergency personnel from Bedford Fire Department, Mitchell Fire Department, Mitchell School Resource Officer, Marion Township Volunteer Fire Department, two IU Lifeline Ambulances, and Air Evac 17, Paoli, Indiana responded to the scene.


Photo: Bedford Fire Department uses a winch from their Rescue Engine to pull the vehicle a way from the Mitchell Community School bus


In an accident report by Mitchell Police officer Jacob Kuhlman a witness who was behind the Toyota Highlander when the collision took place stated " The bud was coming from Spice Valley Road towards the Mitchell Schools. From what I can tell, it did not look like the bus came to a complete stop. The bus went right through, it look like the SUV tried to react to it but by the time he got there it was too late. The SUV hit the bus and they slid all the way over the side of the road,"




Bland's and Mikels Wrecker Services towed both vehicles from the scene.



MITCHELL - FEBRUARY 14, 2024 - No students involved in a school bus vs passenger vehicle accident at Indiana State Road 37 and Hancock Avenue. Two people were injured in the crash.


 No students was on board the 15 passenger bus at the time of the accident.


Photo: AirEvac 17 arrives at the scene to transport the driver of a passenger vehicle to U of L Hospital Louisville, KY


The accident was reported at 3:09 pm Wednesday afternoon.


 Mitchell Police Department, Mitchell Fire Department, Mitchell Community School Resource Officer, Marion Township VFD, Lawrence County Sheriffs Department, two IU Lifeline ambulances, and Indiana State Police are on the scene.


A air ambulance was requested at the scene.



 AirEvac air ambulance has landed at the scene just before 4:00 pm. to transport the driver of the passenger of the vehicle to U of L Hospital.



The driver of the Mitchell Community School bus taken by IU Lifeline ground ambulance to IU Health Hospital Bedford. Officials say the driver of the school bus will be airlifted to U of L Hospital Louisville, KY. for further treatment.


Photo: A Bedford Firefighter returns extrication equipment to Rescue 1


Mitchell Community Schools Superintendent Brent Comer responded to the scene to check on the safety of the any students and school personnel.


 Indiana State Road 37 was closed for several minutes causing traffic delays for several minutes. The Mitchell Police Department will be investigating the accident.


Blands and Mikels Wrecker Service responded to the scene.


A accident report is not available at this time no names will be released until family has been notified.


For breaking news and information go to lczephyyr.org or like/follow the Lawrence County Zephyr Facebook page.


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