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Vanderburgh County, Indiana — April 30, 2013

Police say a female motorist died Tuesday during a chain-reaction crash in the Evansville area.

The Evansville Police Department reports that 35-year-old Newburgh Christopher J. Meunier was behind the wheel of a 2008 Toyota Tundra pickup truck as it traveled east along Lynch Road. As Mr. Meunier approached Burkhardt Road, around 4:55 p.m., he struck a 2004 Buick LeSabre sedan, driven by Evansville resident Robin Norris, 57.

The impact forced the LeSabre into Evansville resident Patricia Wittgen, 47, who was driving a 2011 Kia Optima. Paramedics responded to the scene and rushed Ms. Norris to St. Mary’s Medical Center for treatment of head trauma, but doctors were unable to save her.

A passenger in the LeSabre, 48-year-old Evansville resident Tracey Reavis, suffered facial injuries and was also hospitalized at St. Mary’s. Ms. Wittgen, meanwhile, was taken to Deaconess Hospital for treatment.

Mr. Meunier apparently escaped unhurt. Investigators say Mr. Meunier entered the intersection against a red light.

According to the National Safety Council, the rate of traffic deaths rose 4 percent in 2012 to 1.23 per 100 million. The study attributed the increase, in part, to a mild winter and improved economic conditions.

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