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Crash Kills Son of Former CAB Employee
July 11, 2007 - A former business manager for the Charles A. Beard Memorial School Corporation was involved in a single-vehicle accident on Interstate 70 Sunday evening that claimed the life of her seven-year-old son. According to information provided by the Henry County Sheriff's Department, Amanda Zurwell was traveling eastbound near milemarker 128 on I-70 shortly when her Dodge Durango left the south side of the road and struck a concrete drainage structure head-on. The Henry County Sheriff's Dept. was dispatched to the scene of the accident, which was about five miles east of New Castle near the County Road 400-East overpass, at 6:22 p.m.
While Zurwell, 32, was treated for possible head injuries at Henry County Memorial Hospital and released that same night, internal injuries claimed the life of her son, Brandon Harvey, at the scene of the accident. A preliminary report released by the HCSD indicates that Zurwell's son was restrained in a child booster seat, but that it was unclear if the seatbelt was properly positioned.
"According to witnesses and evidence at the scene, the child was belted," HCSD Sgt. James Goodwin II, the lead investigator, told The Banner on Monday. "But we're not sure if maybe he had put the (seatbelt) behind him or if it somehow got behind him. We're looking at that possibility."
Goodwin told The Banner that Zurwell's account of what happened differed from the version that three witnesses gave him.
"She had indicated that she turned around to talk to her son momentarily and when she turned back around another vehicle had come up beside her and come over into her lane, and she doesn't remember anything after that," said Goodwin. "We're trying to hash out the details on that because, according to the witnesses, there was no other vehicle in the area."
Goodwin said the three witnesses he spoke to all reported that Zurwell, who was on her way to Cambridge City, slowed somewhat, then exited the roadway right before a guardrail. "One witness indicated that he sped up, pulled up near the vehicle and honked his horn, trying to get (Zurwell's) attention, but at about that time, she hit the cement drainage structure." Goodwin said it was estimated that Zurwell's vehicle traveled about 300 feet after leaving the road before hitting the drainage structure.
Goodwin told The Banner that toxicology tests were performed on Zurwell at the hospital, but that results have not come back yet. He said it could be several weeks before the results are in.
Zurwell was hired last August to be a business manager for CAB and began work in early September. She resigned in January after school officials learned she was being investigated in Brown County for possibly stealing more than $3,000 from her former employer, Brown County School Corp., and irregularities were discovered with respect to her pay while at CAB.
Since that time, felony theft charges have been filed against Zurwell in both Brown County and Henry County. In addition to four counts of theft, the Henry County Prosecutor has also charged Zurwell with two counts of forgery with respect to alleged misconduct that occurred during her employment at CAB.
Zurwell was scheduled to have a pretrial conference on her Brown County case on Monday of this week. Due to Sunday's accident, however, Brown County Prosecutor Jim Oliver told The Banner that the pretrial conference, as well as a July 25 trial date, have both been continued until October. With respect to the criminal charges she is facing in Henry County, Zurwell has a pretrial conference scheduled for August 16, and a trial tentatively set for September 11.
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