Police looking for pickup truck after fatal I-465 hit-and-run

Police looking for pickup truck after fatal I-465 hit-and-run. (WISH Photo/Kevin Ratermann)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana State Police have released the name of the victim killed by a hit-and-run driver on the south side of Indianapolis Tuesday morning.

According to police, Jeffrey Smith, 53 or Rushville, was parked on the right side of the shoulder on Interstate 465 due to mechanical issues with his crane around 8:30 a.m.

Police said the crane was seven feet off the right lane of I-465 with the emergency flashers on. A mechanic from R.H. Marlin Inc. and the owner of the crane arrived in a different vehicle and was under the crane making repairs. Police said Smith was standing on the emergency berm between the crane and the right lane of I-465 when the incident happened.

According to witnesses, a red or maroon Ford pickup truck drove onto the emergency berm on the right side of I-465 and struck Smith. Police said the pickup truck did not stop and continued on eastbound I-465.

Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was injured.

Police say Smith was cautious. He pulled well over to the side of the road, put his hazards on and waited for help to arrive. Still, this case didn’t end well. So police want to use this as an opportunity to get some important information out there to drivers.

Breaking down on the side of the road is one of those things that, unfortunately, most experience.

“I was driving a truck and the battery went down. I was driving on the highway and it was very cold,” said Orlen Reyes,

Qamar Shafeek added, “Ice and snow, of course. 465, of course. Everyone is trying to get up hill. Cars are skidding left and right.”

Although we can’t control where and when we break down, we can control how we respond. According to ISP, there is a wrong way and a right way.

“Texting, paying attention to the radio, paying attention to the kids in the car, there’s so much things that’s grabbing your attention out there anymore. Everything that you can do, ultimately, for your safety, you need to do,” said Indiana State Police Sgt. Rich Myers.

Myers had this advice:

  • Pull over and off the road as much as possible.
  • Stay in your vehicle, at least until help arrives.
  • Be mindful of traffic.
  • Make your car as visible as possible using extra lights, hazards, and reflectors.

Magnetic reflector arrows that easily stick on to your vehicle can be purchased online.

This advice may seem simple, because it is, but after incident’s like Smith’s, police say it’s worth emphasizing.

“It’s a constant reminder of the safety concerns that we have on the interstate and that you need to be cognizant of what’s going on around you at all times,” said Sgt. Myers.

The suspect is still at large. Witnesses told police they say a driver in a red or maroon pickup truck. Police suspect it has extensive front end damage.

The investigation is ongoing. Police said an autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.

If you have any information, you are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-8477.