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Car crash claims life of newly-crowned Indiana beauty queen

A young Indiana beauty queen was killed just after midnight on Saturday, Aug. 1, when the car in which she was a passenger struck several trees before rolling over. The one-car accident occurred in Palmyra in Harrison County. The vehicle reportedly went off the road while traveling westbound on Tree Drive.

The 20-year-old woman, Abby Sutherland, was just crowned Miss Crawford County last month. She was scheduled to appear at the Indiana State Fair later in August. She was reportedly trapped in the vehicle and had to be removed by emergency workers. However, she was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the car was hospitalized, but his condition was not reported. Investigators believe that excessive speed may have caused the accident. They have not yet announced the results of toxicology tests done on the driver.

According to a friend of Sutherland, the two were on a date when the accident occurred. She said that she believed the two "had been to dinner and were trying to get to know each other."

Friends and co-workers all spoke glowingly of the young woman. She worked as a hostess at a restaurant and at a car dealership in the area.

No matter how carefully Indiana residents drive, we cannot always be responsible for the actions of others behind the wheel. We can refuse to get in a car with someone who has been drinking or to stay in a vehicle with someone who is texting behind the wheel. However, it's easy to become caught up in conversation and not realize that a driver is being reckless or negligent.

Obviously, no amount of money can bring back a loved one. However, surviving family members may be able to take civil legal action against an at-fault driver if their loved one lost his or her life while riding with that driver.

Source: WTHR.com, "Indiana beauty queen killed in car crash," Aug. 04, 2015

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