Tribune staff reports

Three children from Elwood were flown by helicopter to a Louisville hospital with life-threatening injuries they sustained in a wreck on Interstate 65 near the Crothersville exit Saturday afternoon.

Around 4 p.m., Indiana State Police responded to the scene of the crash, which involved three vehicles in the southbound lanes near the 38-mile marker. A total of six people were treated for injuries.

Trooper Matt Holley reported a 2015 Kia Forte, driven by Ernest J. Pagels Jr., 53, of Waukesha, Wisconsin, was traveling southbound when, for unknown reasons, the vehicle suddenly slowed down.

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A 2012 Dodge van, driven by April K. Bickel, 41, of Elwood, swerved to avoid hitting Pagels’ vehicle and then was rear ended by a 2004 Mercury passenger car driven by Jeffery L. Ireland, 59, of Concord, North Carolina, according to Holley’s report.

Ireland was treated for minor injuries, while Bickel was transported to University of Louisville Hospital for treatment of unknown injuries.

Four children in Bickel’s vehicle all suffered serious injuries, police reported.

An 8-year-old female, 6-year-old female and a 2-year-old male all were air lifted to Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville for treatment of critical, life-threatening injuries, according to a report from Sgt. Stephen Wheeles, public information officer with ISP Versailles Post.

A 4-year-old female, also in Bickel’s vehicle, was transported to Kosair by ambulance for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

Alcohol and drugs are not believed to be factors in the crash at this time, police said.

The southbound lanes of I-65 near the 38-mile marker were closed for around two hours for investigation and cleanup.

The investigation is ongoing, police said.

Holley was assisted by numerous troopers from the Indiana State Police Versailles and Sellersburg posts, the Jackson County’s Sheriff’s Department, Crothersville-Vernon Township Volunteer Fire Department and Jackson County EMS.