Spencer Co. deputy recovering from multiple fractures after deadly crash

Spencer Co. deputy recovering from multiple fractures after deadly crash
Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 7:11 PM CDT
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SPENCER CO., Ind. (WFIE) - Deputies are typically the ones who respond to vehicle crashes, but early Thursday morning, 27-year-old Spencer County Deputy Ronald Harper Jr. was involved in one himself.

It was a serious crash on State Road 66. The deputy was hit by another driver.

Authorities say 61-year-old Phillip Brown Jr. of Indianapolis overcorrected, crossed into oncoming traffic, and died when he hit Deputy Harper head-on.

Harper Jr. has been with the Spencer County Sheriff’s Department since April of 2019.

Sheriff Kelli Reinke tells 14 News it’s ironic that this would have happened to Deputy Harper.

He had just finished up some training to learn how to deal with his exact situation.

“Ron and another officer had just concluded, I think it was about a six-week training session,” says Sheriff Reinke, “they took the training for accident reconstruction, and were pretty excited about it. So, it’s unfortunate that he’s on the other end of his training.”

One of Deputy Harper’s former coworkers, Taylor Heady, says she’s been in contact with Deputy Harper’s wife, who’s pregnant with a little girl.

She knew more about the extent of his injuries.

“From what I understand he has a fractured pelvis, some crushed ankle bones, he had a punctured lung,” says Heady.

Heady says she was shocked to get the call that a deputy was injured in an accident.

The sheriff says she’d done the same job for years, and it could’ve easily happened to anybody.

“It could’ve been me. If I was still working there, I mean I could’ve been the one that was involved,” says Heady, “so, I mean it could’ve been any one of us. Like you said, it was a complete freak accident.”

Sheriff Reinke says that she’s really proud of one of her other officers, Chief Deputy Ryan Parsley, for showing up and administering medical care on his fellow officer.

“Deputy Parsley had a good head on his shoulders and handled everything well, rode with the ambulance crew to help provide some more support services for them, and did a good job,” says Sheriff Reinke.

It’s unclear at this time how long Deputy Harper’s recovery is going to take, but Sheriff Reinke says that she’s expecting a call sometime Friday from a family member to hear how he’s doing.

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