Residents call for increased oversight of Highway 111 after fatal crash at casino's front door
A man is dead after a head-on crash near the front door of a southern Indiana casino, and area residents are calling for steps to be taken to keep the same thing from happening again.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A driver died after a head-on crash near the front door of Horseshoe Southern Indiana.
Witnesses called 911 around 7:30 p.m. Monday, reporting 57-year-old Stuart Fife driving erratically on Highway 111, the road leading up to the casino. Jason Mattingly, a casino employee, had just left work. They collided head-on, and investigators said Fife crossed into Mattingly's lane. Fife died at the scene.
"The actual impact happened in Floyd County, but Mr. Fife's truck landed in Harrison County," said Floyd County Sheriff Frank Loop. "There was debris for 100 yards."
On Tuesday afternoon, shattered car parts could still be seen lying at the front of the casino. Neighbors said they are glaring examples of yet another life lost on Highway 111.
"I was like, 'Wow! It happened right there!'" recalled Ed Raisman, who lives nearby.
Raisman added that crashes on Highway 111 are commonplace.
"I've seen them hit the poles, knock out the power and stuff like that," Raisman said. "You see a lot of that on this road because it's not really patrolled that well. You have the casino right there, and people want business in the casino."
The people living along Highway 111, a straight, two-lane road, said drunk or distracted drivers are common there, and more oversight is needed. Indiana State Police, the New Albany Police Department, the Floyd County Sheriff's Department and the Harrison County Sheriff's Department are all supposed to patrol the road.
"Do we make traffic stops down there on a regular basis? Absolutely," Loop said. "Are you going to find a police car there 24 hours a day? Absolutely not."
Despite the complaints of speeding and reckless driving, state records show crashes decreasing on Highway 111.
Crash statistics from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute looking at Highway 111 between New Albany and Elizabeth, Indiana, the stretch of road leading the casino, show a steady decline in crashes from 2012 through 2016. There were 187 crashes in 2012 and 85 last year, an decrease of more than 50 percent in five years.
But each year, there's always one fatal outcome. On Monday night, that one was the wreck that took Fife's life.
Some of Fife's family members came back to the crash scene Tuesday, trying to find his belongings. They didn't want to go on camera but said 30 minutes before he drove down that road, he'd cut the lawn at his mother's home, and he was not impaired. The family believes he suffered some type of medical emergency leading up to the crash. Fife's autopsy results are pending.
Mattingly remains hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.
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