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November 20, 2011

Duke Energy manager killed in New Albany wreck

Other driver arrested for operating while intoxicated

NEW ALBANY — NEW ALBANY — A regional manager for Duke Energy was killed late Saturday night by an intoxicated driver, according to police.

Kevin N. Hammersmith, 51, of Floyds Knobs, was struck while driving northbound on Ind. 111 just south of Budd Road in New Albany, according to a press release from the Floyd County Prosecutor’s Office Combined Accident Reconstruction Team.

The Floyd County Sheriff’s Department received a call at 11:30 p.m. Saturday regarding a crash on Ind. 111. Hammersmith was transported by ambulance to Floyd Memorial Hospital & Health Services where he later died.

Wesley S. Bradshaw, 31, of Danville, Ky., was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death. The press release states Bradshaw was under the influence of a controlled substance. He was transported to the Floyd County Jail.

According to police, the preliminary investigation shows Bradshaw was driving a gold Toyota southbound on Ind. 111 when the vehicle crossed the center line and struck Hammersmith’s 2003 Infiniti.

A passenger in the Infiniti was taken to Floyd Memorial and treated for minor injuries. Bradshaw refused medical treatment.

Standard blood tests will be performed on Hammersmith.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Hammersmith started as a principle electrical engineer at Duke Energy in 1982 after graduating from Purdue University. The Floyd County native later became the government and community relations director for Duke Energy in Southern Indiana.

He served on several boards and was on the executive board at One Southern Indiana since 2003 and held the position of chairman last year. He served as Harvest Homecoming president in 2001 and has remained involved in organizing the annual festival and had been on the New Albany-Floyd County Parks Board for 28 years.

“He was so involved with the community. It’s hard to believe,” said Roger Jeffers, NA-FC Parks director. “He was very civic minded. He had been on the parks board for more than half of his life. It tells you a lot about the man. He gave a lot of his time ... we lost a really good person.”

New Albany Mayor Doug England had eaten dinner at the Horseshoe Casino Saturday with Hammersmith where the two attended the IUS Chancellor’s Medallion Dinner. He said they were planning Hammersmith’s upcoming birthday party which was going to be held at England’s house.

“We talked and laughed ... I can’t believe it,” said England. “He left a little before I did and I saw the road block and all of the lights. It’s just awful.”

England said the community suffered a great loss, and said his prayers were with the Hammersmith family. He also said New Albany would not have its new riverfront amphitheater without Hammersmith’s help.

“I want his family to know just how much he was loved,” England said. “It’s just not going to be the same without him. I used to see him two or three days a week. He just gave so much to this community. He loved and was truly concerned about Southern Indiana.”

Duke Energy’s Indiana President Doug Esamann said Hammersmith’s death “is a tragic loss for his family, Duke Energy and Southern Indiana.”

“Duke Energy is deeply saddened by the loss of Kevin Hammersmith, director of government and community relations for Duke Energy in Southern Indiana,” Esamann said in a release. “Kevin was an important leader for Duke Energy and for his region as well. He was active in many local organizations and worked tirelessly to promote and advance the community he loved.”

His funeral will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Market Street Chapel of Seabrook Dieckmann & Naville Funeral Homes in New Albany. 

Assistant Editor Chris Morris contributed to this story.

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