FedEx driver killed in fall from truck

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Harris remembered as friendly, dependable package deliverer



MOUNT PLEASANT – A FedEx employee known to many Perry Countians was killed Monday after she fell from a moving delivery truck east of Leopold. 

Debra J. Harris, 54, of Velpen was pronounce dead from her injuries at Perry County Memorial Hospital, state police said. She was flown from the scene by a medical helicopter originally bound for University Hospital in Louisville, Ky. However, her condition worsened and the crew diverted to Tell City. 

Troopers said Harris was riding unrestrained in a 2000 International truck driven by Joseph W. Engelbrecht, 30, of Evansville. The two were delivering packages and had just made a delivery near Mount Pleasant when Harris fell from the vehicle as it rounded a curve. She landed in a ditch lined with riprap. 

Engelbrecht stopped the truck as soon as he could, leaving skid marks on the road’s surface. He dialed 911, summoning police, paramedics and first responders. 

Engelbrecht was not injured. 

Harris was recalled as a friendly face who went out of her way to help customers. 

One of her fans, Jeanie Gramelspacher-Wood of Magnet, said Harris was always smiling and gave her dogs small treats whenever she delivered a package. 

“Living in the middle of nowhere, I have a friendship with both UPS and Fed Ex drivers. I call them to see if they have a delivery for me when I go to town to save them an hour-and-a-half trip out here,” Gramelspacher-Wood said. “Debbie Harris was an amazing middle aged woman, .always had a smile on her face. No matter what was going on, she jogged down the hill with a smile on her face, carrying the delivery for me, always with six treats in hand for my dogs. She was always smiling.” 

Harris underwent two knee replacements a few years ago and Wood said she “was a huge cheerleader for me wile I was going through my recovery. “

Others commented about Harris’ friendliness, including Tell City business owner Chris Cail, who said he considered the woman a “friend and a very nice person.” 

Indiana State Police Sgt. Chad Dick and Trooper Mark Lehmkuhler investigated the accident, assisted by the Perry County Rescue Squad, Conservation Officer Levi Clark and the Perry County coroner’s office.