Press release

The Columbus Police Department is investigating a fatal crash that killed a local man Monday morning.

At approximately 9:03 a.m., CPD officers responded to the intersection of 10th Street and Whitfield Drive in regards to a three vehicle crash. The investigating officers determined that Dennis A. Deffenbaugh, 73, of Columbus exited the Lowes parking lot and was traveling southbound when his 1995 Ford F250 collided in the intersection with a 2019 Chevrolet Blazer, driven by Nicoleta D. Dailey, 39, of Hope, who was traveling west on 10th Street.

After the impact of the crash, Dailey’s vehicle struck a 2012 Mercedes GL450 sport utility vehicle, driven by Lorena V. Baird, 49, of Columbus, who was traveling east on 10th Street and stopped in the left turn lane on the west side of the intersection.

Deffenbaugh was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash by Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting. Nolting said Deffenbaugh was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the incident. He listed the cause of death as blunt force trauma to the chest and upper cervical spine. Manner of death is listed as accidental at this time.

Dailey was transported to Columbus Regional Hospital and later transferred to IU Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis for treatment. Baird sustained minor injuries but refused medical treatment at the scene.

The crash remains under investigation by Columbus Police Department crash reconstructionists. The following agencies also assisted: Columbus Fire Department, Columbus Regional Hospital EMS, Indiana State Police, IU Health Lifeline, and the Bartholomew County Coroner’s Office.