ANDERSON — Cowan High School boys basketball coach Lee Ingles died Monday in a two-vehicle crash on Interstate 69 near Anderson.
The high school issued a statement Tuesday saying Ingles, who coached at Cowan for seven seasons, was "was a beloved teacher, coach, mentor and friend."
"Cowan Community Schools is heartbroken with the tragic passing of beloved teacher, coach, mentor, and friend Mr. Ingles. He was an extremely popular teacher that had an amazing impact on the lives of countless students in our small community. The entire Cowan Community grieves with his family during this difficult time. We are working together to support our entire school community at this time."
"Mr. Ingles was a great teacher and coach. His positive influence on students will be long-lasting," said Superintendent Timothy P. Brown.
According to a report from the Indiana State Police, the crash happened around 3:43 p.m. Monday near the 227 mile-marker in Madison County.
Troopers said a 2009 Toyota Avalon driven by Beau J. White, 48, of Kokomo, was traveling north in the left lane of the interstate when the vehicle left the roadway, traveled onto the median, struck and traveled through the dividing cable barrier and collided nearly head-on with a 2021 Jeep Gladiator, driven by Ingles, 50, of Westfield.
The entire Cowan Community is grieving this morning after the loss of Coach Ingles. Coach Ingles was a great educator, great coach, but an even better man. He will forever be remembered as a man of integrity who had a great impact on the lives of his students and players.— Cowan Jr/Sr High Sch (@CowanBlackhawks) October 20, 2020
After the impact, the Jeep veered to the right, traveled off the roadway into a ditch where it caught fire. A state trooper who was traveling through the area observed the wrecked vehicles and immediately responded. The trooper observed fire coming from the engine compartment of the Jeep and quickly rushed to the burning vehicle as bystanders pulled Ingles from the vehicle.
Ingles was pronounced dead at the scene by the Madison County Coroner, troopers said. White was transported to St. Vincent Hospital in Anderson with non-life-threatening injuries.
Multiple lanes of I-69 were shut down for several hours for the investigation and cleanup. The interstate has since fully reopened, troopers said.
The crash remains under investigation pending autopsy and toxicology reports.
Indiana State Police are asking anyone who may have witnessed the crash to contact them at 1-800-527-4752.