BY JIMMY KISSEE and KEVIN NEVERS
Whether it was on the court or in the classroom, Todd Talbert made an impact
on many he came in contact with at Chesterton High School. Although his life
was cut short yesterday in a tragic traffic accident, the lessons he taught
will carry on through the students he touched.
At approximately 1:03 p.m. (EDT) Talbert, 40, of 1601 Fox Point Drive in
Chesterton, was southbound on Ind. 1 in Dearborn County in southeastern
Indiana when he crossed the center lane in his Dodge Intrepid and was struck
by a northbound semi-tractor trailer hauling hot liquid asphalt, Sgt.
Richard Bower of the Dearborn County Sheriff’s Police (DCSP) said.
Talbert, a math teacher at Chesterton High School and freshman girls
basketball coach, was pronounced dead at the scene.
His daughter, Katie Talbert, 15, and her daughter’s friend, Angela
Hollinger, 15, of 341 Windermere in Jackson Township, were riding in the
back seat of the Intrepid. Both sustained injuries and were transported to
Dearborn County Hospital and then to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. As of
early this morning, Bower said, “both girls were stable and nothing is
believed to be life-threatening at this time.”
Katie Talbert is currently in fair condition and Angela Hollinger is in
All three were wearing seat belts and Talbert’s air bag deployed, Bower
said. An autopsy had been scheduled for today.
The driver of the semi, Jospeh Hazel, 39, of Brownsburg, Ind., was not
injured in the accident.
Although the cause of the crash remains under investigation, Bower said, it
occurred during a heavy rain and Talbert may have lost control of his car
after hydroplaning. An accident reconstructionist from the Indiana State
Police is assisting the DCSP with the investigation and Bower hopes to have
a final determination on the cause of the crash by early next week.
Talbert, an outstanding teacher who was well liked and respected by both the
faculty and the student body, has been with the Duneland School Corporation
for nine years. He was set to take over as head coach of the girls junior
varsity basketball team this season.
Chesterton High School athletic director Garry Nallenweg said Talbert
“coached a little bit everything.”
“He was involved with wrestling, football, girls basketball, girls track and
was just a real student-of-the-game,” Nallenweg said.
“Basketball though, really became his new passion. He was intense on what he
wanted to teach and he had a special way of touching the lives of the
students he came in contact with. He was invaluable to Chesterton High
School and will sorely be missed, not just because of what he did, but just
because he was fun to be around. Whether it was in the classroom or on the
court, Todd was always there for the kids.”
Talbert, along with his daughter Katie and Hollinger were en route to a
college point guard camp in North Carolina at the time of the accident. Todd
was going to sit in on a coaching clinic, while the girls participated in
the basketball camp.
According to Nallenweg, Talbert was always trying to enhance his knowledge
on the game of basketball.
“Todd, Jack (Campbell) and Fred (Mitchell) were always sitting around
throwing X’s and O’s on the board,” Nallenweg said. “They were always trying
to learn and do whatever they could to improve.”
Nallenweg added that Talbert was also a regular in meetings with the coaches
before school in the athletic office.
“Every morning, we all sat around and laughed and joked talking about the
events from the night before,” Nallenweg said. “It was a tremendous social
gathering before school and after hours. We’re all really going to miss him.
He was a great asset to the athletic department.”
Cassie Peller, fellow track and cross country teammate of Katie, said coach
Talbert was a selfless person who always put everyone else first.
“He was so supportive to the teams and the individual athletes at Chesterton
High School,” Peller said. “I can’t recall a single meet he wasn’t at
cheering and helping out. He was well-respected by everyone, because he got
to know each and every student and didn’t leave anyone out.”
Talbert with his wife Susan, a science teacher at Chesterton High School,
for a number of years led a group of middle-schoolers on an annual tour of
Washington D.C. Last year, in February, a blizzard stranded his group.
Funeral arrangements are still pending, however, visitation appears to be
slated for White/Love Funeral Home in Chesterton, and the burial itself will
be in Morristown.