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Fund set up for local accident victim

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

A special account has been established to help pay for ongoing medical expenses on behalf of former Henry County Republican Chairman Mike Gerrish, who was seriously injured in a recent Iowa automobile accident.

The account is being administered locally by Star Financial Bank and is also available via PayPal.me on the web using the link PayPal.me/getmikehome. Those who would like to help may also send checks directly to the Gerrish’s at 9040 W. County Road 450 S., Shirley, IN 47384.

Mike was seriously injured in a Sunday, Sept. 2 crash that involved three vehicles in western Iowa. His wife, Melinda, spoke with The Courier-Times Wednesday.

“They hope to fly him home tomorrow (Thursday),” Melinda said. “He broke his back, femur and ribs.”

Melinda said her husband is facing three months of intense rehabilitation in Indianapolis after his return trip.

She was also injured, but not as severely.

“I am very sore but very, very lucky,” she said. 

A story in the Des Moines, Iowa Register newspaper said Richard Van Zee, 80, of Rock Valley drove off the road, across the median and hit two vehicles in the southbound lanes at Mile Marker 99 near Little Sioux, Iowa about 4:15 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 2, according to the Iowa State Patrol.

His car side-swiped a vehicle driven Saul Gonzales, 31, of Des Moines, before hitting a pickup driven by Mike Gerrish of Shirley, Indiana. The accident scene was about 45 miles north of Omaha, Nebraska. 

Van Zee, 80, and Mary Ann Van Zee, 77, were killed. Elizabeth Cobbs, 65, of Knightstown, Indiana, who was in the back seat of the Gerrish’s pickup, was also killed.

“Aunt Betty was like my sister,” Melinda said.

An outpouring of support has already been felt by the family, according to Melinda, who expressed her heartfelt appreciation.

“It’s been amazing,” she said. “We even had somebody Mike had in school years ago contact us and offer support. We appreciate everybody’s prayers and will need them in the days ahead.”