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Good Friday crash claims life on IN-37

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Four people in oncoming vehicle unhurt in collision

By Vince Luecke

ST. CROIX - A Birdseye man was killed Friday morning after apparently falling asleep behind the wheel, triggering a collision with an oncoming truck and trailer on Indiana 37 north of Interstate 64.

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According to Indiana State Police, Leslie Deel, 30, was traveling north on Indiana 37 and was nearing the Perry County-Crawford County line around 5:40 a.m. when his red 1992 Isuzu pickup crossed into the oncoming lane of travel.

Lucas A. Seitz, 24, Jasper, was traveling south in a 2002 Chevrolet full-size pickup, pulling a 25-foot horse trailer loaded with scrap metal. Seitz told troopers he observed Deel traveling north partially in the wrong lane and attempted to pull onto the shoulder to avoid a collision. Deel's truck, however, struck the front corner of the trailer head-on, crumpling the midsize truck.

The impact sheered off the trailer's rear door, scattering debris for more than 100 yards.

Police said it appeared Deel had fallen asleep, sending his vehicle drifting across the centerline.

Deel, who had to be extricated from the truck, was pronounced dead at the scene. Seitz and his three passengers, including two children, were uninjured and refused medical care at the scene.

No charges have been filed at this time, police said. This investigation is still ongoing.

Indiana 37 was closed for approximately an hour and a half while emergency crews investigated and photographed the scene. Perry County EMS, the Perry County Rescue Squad and Perry County Sheriff's Department assisted at the scene, as did the Perry County Coroner's Office and Crawford County Sheriff's Department.