A1 A1
Double fatality claims life of local football coach

A tragic head-on collision in the county claimed the lives of two locals, Phillip Keller and Bonita Plont. Keller was Connersville Middle School’s football coach.

Tuesday afternoon close to 5 p.m., emergency personnel responded to County Road 550 West near 600 North in reference to a two-vehicle accident.

Upon arrival, it was determined that both drivers were deceased, there were no other passengers.

Keller, 36, of Connersville, was driving a 2007 Toyota Camry southbound on 550 West. Keller’s vehicle struck a 2015 Hyundai Accent being driven by Plont, 59, also of Connersville, which was headed north on 550 west.

The Indiana State Police Crash Reconstruction Team was called to assist with the accident investigation. At this time, the incident is still under investigation.

Those assisting were Fayette County Sheriff’s Department, Fayette County 911, Connersville Police Department, Bentonville Volunteer Fire Department, Connersville Fire Department, Indiana State Police, Fayette County EMS, and the Fayette County Coroner for assistance.

“This was a terrible accident and unfortunately the third fatality in two days from wrecks that occurred in Fayette County,” Sheriff Joey Laughlin said.

Laughlin stated his thoughts and prayers are with the Plont and Keller families. He also spoke as parent who saw Keller perform as a coach.

“When your child is coached in a sport, your hope is that the coach is positive and encouraging to your child, that your child enjoys the sport and has fun. Phillip Keller was an awesome coach to so many children in this community,” Laughlin said. “My son, Jacob, had the pleasure of playing three baseball seasons with Phillip. His ‘Hey Let’s Go Here Kid’ and talks with Jacob always seemed to boost my son’s confidence. Something invaluable as a parent is having someone be able to boost your child’s belief in their self. Phillip, thank you for being so good to my boy. My thoughts and prayers are with your children and family.”

Hanging the West

Curtis Potters hangs pieces of photography for “Framing the West,” a western photography exhibition from local photographer Kate Lunsford. The show will be held at the Whitewater Valley Arts Association, 402 Central Avenue, Friday from 6-8 p.m. Those attending are asked to park in the courthouse parking lot or 4th Street due to construction on Central Avenue.

State police warns dangers of substandard car seats

Indiana State Police and the Better Business Bureau are warning people about the dangers of purchasing fake or substandard car seats. These items can be purchased online and at a significantly lower price than the authentic product.

“The promise of a great sale or price reduction is probably the number one hook for unsuspecting victims looking for a bargain. With car seats, the problem is that saving a few dollars could turn out to be dangerous for the child,” says Tim Maniscalo, BBB Central Indiana’s President and CEO.

During a recent child car seat check-up event in the tri-state area, a high-end brand of car seat was discovered as a fake.

“Fake or knock-off child safety seats may look safe, but they are not crash tested and may be missing vital safety features,” says Sergeant Todd Ringle, Indiana State Police.

Although the difference in price can be appealing to consumers, ISP and BBB advise local area parents looking to buy a car seat to:

Shop from a reputable retailer. If this is a new e-shop and you don’t know their inventory, policies or reliability, check bbb.org for the company’s rating, reviews and potential complaints. Make sure the URL starts with “https”, where “s” stands for “secure” or look for the small lock icon.

Use NHTSA’s guidelines for car seat safety and check their database for reliable manufacturers.

Report scams to BBB Scam Tracker and also to local authorities as soon as possible.

Reminder: Pause coming to Kuhlman COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic

Reid Health’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Wayne County Fairgrounds is about to pause operations for three weeks to make way for the Wayne County 4-H Fair, but the health system will continue to give shots at several other locations during that time.

The Kuhlman Center Vaccine Clinic will temporarily shut down at the end of its operating hours Saturday, June 12 and then reopen after the Fourth of July holiday on Thursday, July 8.

“Our vaccination team has worked incredibly hard since mid-December, and this pause will give them a much-deserved break,” said Thomas Huth, M.D., Vice President of Medical Affairs for Reid Health.

“Although the clinic will reopen in a few weeks, we hope those who haven’t been vaccinated yet won’t wait that long to get their shot.”

While operations at the Kuhlman clinic are on pause, scheduled and walk-in vaccinations still will be available at other Reid locations.

Free vaccinations at the Richmond (1501 Chester Blvd.) and Connersville (1475 E. State Road 44) Urgent Cares are available from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Sunday. The Ready Care Clinic at Meijer is open for shots 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

When the Kuhlman Center site reopens on July 8, operating hours there once again will be 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday and Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Friday.

There is no office fee or copay for vaccination-only visits at any Reid locations.

Appointments can be scheduled through the state website, ourshot.in.gov, using either the Firefox or Chrome web browser.

After an appointment has been made, a link will be sent to complete the registration. That information doesn’t have to be filled out before arriving for a scheduled vaccination but doing so ahead of time will speed up the process.

The Indiana Department of Health has designated 211 as a call line for assistance.

Reid has been made a host site by the state with responsibility for helping to vaccinate Wayne, Randolph, Union, and Fayette counties.

County health departments in those areas also are offering vaccinations through their own clinics.

Everyone 12 and older is eligible to be vaccinated in Indiana, but only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for those younger than 18. Reid’s sites use the Pfizer product.

Parents or legal guardians of minor children who will be vaccinated need to be present at the child’s appointment.