ANDERSON, Ind - Friends and loved ones are struggling to deal with the sudden deaths of a Noblesville man and his son, who were killed in a violent crash at the end of a police pursuit in Anderson over the weekend.
Dan Oberhart, 53, and his 24-year old son Riley died from their injuries when their family car was struck head-on by 55-year old Gary Agnew. Anderson Police say officers were chasing Agnew after he robbed the Pizza Hut at 2607 Nichol Road just after 11 p.m. Saturday. Police say Agnew, who was driving a Honda Odyssey, led officers northbound on Raible Avenue. About two miles down the road, police say Agnew pulled into the southbound lane to pass a slower vehicle. The vehicle Agnew was driving collided head-on into the oncoming Oberhart family car.
Agnew and Dan Oberhart were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Riley Oberhart, who was riding in the driver-side back seat, was flown to IU Health Methodist Hospital and died a short time later.
Dan Oberhart’s wife, 50-year-old Kathleen, and their 14-year-old daughter Macy were seriously injured in the crash. They were treated at Community Hospital in Anderson before being transported to an Indianapolis Hospital. IU Health officials said Monday afternoon that Kathleen and Macy Oberhart were stable and listed in fair condition.
Longtime friend of the Oberharts, Dave Pedigo, said the family of four had been out celebrating Macy’s 14th birthday, which had come just the day before.
“They’re out there celebrating a birthday, and the next thing they know, half of their family has passed away,” Pedigo said. “You now have a sister who has lost her father and her brother, and a wife who has lost her son and husband. And these were like soulmates, you look at them and they absolutely were.”
After more than a decade of friendship with the Oberharts, Pedigo said they were the most loving family he had ever known.
“You hear the phrase, oh they were the greatest people,” he said. “When I say this, I truly mean it, Dan and Kathleen and their son Riley and Macy are the most wonderful people.”
Pedigo said the shock of Saturday night’s crash was still setting in for him and others who are close to the Oberharts. Especially, he said, after learning their car had been struck by a robbery suspect who was fleeing Anderson Police.
“Right now I’m somewhere between complete sadness and anger,” Pedigo said.
“I’m angry, but I understand about the police chasing an armed robber, but to what end? It doesn’t seem like police chases often end very well,” Pedigo said. “It’s not really my place to second guess the police, but at the same time, nothing good has come out of it.”
Anderson Police officials declined interviews Monday. Major Joel Sandefur said the entire incident, including the robbery, pursuit and crash were still being investigated. Sadefur said the pursuit would be reviewed, which is standard protocol for all Anderson Police pursuits.
Sandefur also said Gary Agnew was suspected in several other armed robberies in the Anderson area.
Pedigo said friends and family are rallying around Kathleen and Macy Oberhart. A GoFundMe support page has been established to help collect money, food and other things the family may need as Kathleen and Macy continue their recovery.
“The emotional wounds are going to last for the rest of their lives,” Pedigo.
Sara Simmons has lived right across the street from the Oberhart family for nearly nine years. She's organizing the fundraising and meal collection for Kathleen and Macy.
"As much as they’ve done for everybody else and as much as they care for everybody – it was our turn," Simmons said. "We have had an outpour in our neighborhood, an outpour in the community. They want to help."