Tony Stewart Racing driver Ashlea Albertson dies in highway crash

Indiana State Police are investigating an apparent road rage incident that killed Tony Stewart Racing driver Ashlea Albertson.

Shortly before noon on Friday, Indiana State Police troopers responded to a fatal two-vehicle crash that took place on I-65 in Jackson County, just south of Seymour, Indiana.

Albertson, 24, was a passenger in a white 2018 GMC Terrain being driven by 31-year-old Jacob Kelly, police said in a news release posted on Facebook. Albertson and Kelly were engaged to be married in March 2024, according to a social media post by Kelly’s family and the couple’s online wedding itinerary.

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Evidence from the scene, including video footage, shows that Kelly and 22-year-old Austin Cooper, who was driving a black Chevrolet Malibu, were both traveling northbound on I-65.

The two vehicles began speeding, and neither driver allowed the other to switch lanes, according to police.

“Cooper’s vehicle then began to change lanes into the path of Kelly’s vehicle,” police said. “Jacob Kelly lost control of his vehicle and spun, which resulted in the two vehicles colliding in the middle of the northbound lanes.”

Kelly’s car rolled over and Albertson was ejected from the vehicle, while Cooper’s car landed in a field east of the roadway, police said.

Kelly and Albertson were both flown to the University of Louisville Hospital for treatment. Albertson was pronounced dead at the hospital and Kelly was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, according to police.

Cooper and an underage passenger were transported to Schneck Medical Center in Seymour, Indiana, where they were both treated for non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

The investigation into the accident remains ongoing. Both drivers submitted blood tests, and toxicology results are currently pending.

Once the investigation concludes, the case will be presented to prosecutors for review, police said.

Albertson’s father, Todd, posted an emotional video Friday on her official racing Facebook page announcing her passing.

“This is one of the hardest posts that I could possibly make, but I have no words to put it out other than making a video to share with everybody who loved her and that she loved in return,” he said through tears. “I want to thank you from my family, from myself, for making her feel like she was the best racer out there each and every time that she took the track.”

Condolences for Albertson poured in on social media, including from teammate Tony Stewart, who warned against the dangers of road rage.

“Today, I lost a teammate,” Stewart tweeted.”@AshDogRacing had an infectious personality and could light up any room. She was a great race car driver that was involved in a road rage accident and lost her life.”

“In the past, I’ve also gotten caught up in road rage,” he continued. “I hope that we can honor Ashlea by controlling what we can control on the highway. Losing her is a sobering reminder of how precious life is. Please join me in keeping her family and friends in your prayers.”

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