UPDATED BREAKING NEWS: Well-known retired minister killed in head-on crash
Well-known retired minister Billy Ed Hostettler, of rural Bloomfield, died in a two-vehicle crash Wednesday afternoon on State Road 45 in Monroe County, about one-fourth mile east of the Greene County line.
Hostettler, driving a 2006 Honda Accord, was traveling westbound and for unknown reasons veered left of center and struck a 2000 Kia Sportage head-on, driven by Wanda Deckard, 71, of Solsberry, according to Monroe County Sheriff Department Lt. David Goodrich.
Hostettler died at the scene of the 1:13 p.m. accident, located west of Breeden Road, according to the police report.
Lt. Goodrich said it is believed that Hostettler suffered from a medical condition that caused him to lose control of the vehicle.
He said there were no skid marks leading up to the impact spot, which was off of the paved roadway on the shoulder.
Deckard suffered multiple internal injuries -- lower leg injuries, multiple fractures to the hip and lower legs and possible lung injuries.
She was initially treated at Bloomington Hospital and then transferred to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.
Her condition is listed as serious.
The investigating officer said there will be an autopsy conducted to determine if a medical condition with Hostettler attributed to the wreck.
"At this point it looks possibly like a medical condition," he told the Greene County Daily World. "Indications are with him going left of center like he did. Impact was on the shoulder of the roadway. The Deckard subject was trying to avoid the crash and was up in the grass when she was struck. It's just unfortunate. It looks like a medical issue caused him to lose of the vehicle where he struck an incoming vehicle head-on."
Hostettler, 82, was widely known in the Greene County area for his homespun folksy way of making people understand the love of God and basic Christian principals.
He's was a pastor for more than four decades, a frequent preacher at weddings and funerals; and someone who has a knack for offering works of encouragement during illness or other troubling times.
Billy Ed -- as he was known by his friends and parishioners completed his second book last October, a nearly five-year project that pulled together some of his favorite pulpit teachings and stories.
Entitled "Reflections from the Heart," the 95-page book contains sermons and newspaper articles written by Hostettler over the years in the Greene County Daily World and the former Bloomfield Evening World.
The book has 37 devotionals penned by Hostettler.
Hostettler said the reason for his second publishing venture is really pretty simply.
"Really it's something for my grandchildren to have," he told the Greene County Daily World for story published shortly after the book was finished.
Billy Ed wrote his first book "From then -- Till now" in February, 2003.
It was a 217-page autobiography dedicated primarily to his family in a effort to help them better understand their father and step-father. He put some of his most vivid thoughts and recollections about growing up in Greene County down on paper in long hand.
Hostettler had been a Christian Church minister for more than 40 years -- since he was ordained in August 1963 -- when he pastored the Crane Village Church. He served as associate chaplain at Bloomington Hospital and chaplain for Bloomington Hospital's Hospice office in Greene County.
Billy Ed spent most of his growing up days near in Greene County -- near Scotland.
After high school graduation, he joined the U.S. Army and then launched a 30-plus years of work at the old Crane Naval Ammunition Depot.
After he entered full-time ministry, he was assigned to churches at Crane Village, Antioch, Bethany, Bloomfield Christian Church (two times) and the Lyons Christian Church (two times).
In his ministry, he preached at more than 700 funerals and 300 weddings.
Funeral arrangements are pending at Jenkins Funeral Home in Bloomfield.