Tony Stewart Racing Driver Ashlea Albertson Dead at 24 in a Reported ‘Road Rage Accident’

A woman is dead after what appears to be a road rage accident.

A two-vehicle fatal crash that happened on Friday morning is being investigated by the Indiana State Police, the department said on its Facebook page shortly after the collision. The victim has been identified as 24-year-old Ashlea Albertson, who was a passenger in the white 2018 GMC Terrain. The Indiana State Police added that the tragedy happened on I-65 Northbound, just south of Seymour in Jackson County.

Albertson was a race car driver for Tony Stewart Racing, CNN shared on Monday. Stewart, who retired from NASCAR in 2016, expressed his condolences on Facebook.

“Today, I lost a teammate. @AshDogRacing had an infectious personality and could light up any room,” he wrote in the post’s caption.

“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. 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,” Stewart, 52, said while asking others to keep him and those who knew and loved Albertson in their prayers.

He also shared several images of Albertson as she posed in her racing gear. In one image, she smiled at the camera while seated in a black Tony Stewart Racing vehicle.

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The Indiana State Police Facebook post revealed that footage obtained by a witness “indicated that the two drivers began accelerating rapidly and refused to allow the other vehicle to pass.”

One of the drivers involved, 31-year-old Jacob Kelly, reportedly lost control of his vehicle when it began to spin, which caused the two cars to crash in the middle of the northbound lanes. 

This resulted in Albertson being thrown from Kelly’s automobile. She and Kelly were both airlifted from the scene and transported to the University of Louisville Hospital where Albertson was pronounced dead after her arrival.

Kelly sustained non-life-threatening injuries. 

The other driver was identified as 22-year-old Austin Cooper. He had a juvenile passenger in his black 2016 Chevrolet Malibu and they were both taken to Schneck Medical Center in Seymour and treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Police collected blood samples from each driver and toxicology results are pending in the ongoing investigation.

Once the investigation is complete, if any charges are filed, they will come from the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, Seymour Police Department, Seymour Fire Department, Jackson County EMS, Howard’s Wrecker Service, and 31 Wrecker Service were all at the scene of the fatal crash.

‘Pathway to Heaven’ Photo of Fatal Car Crash Comforts Victims’ Relatives: ‘It Is Bringing Me Peace’

The victim’s father, Todd Albertson, posted a video to Facebook informing those close to the family of his daughter’s death on Friday.

“This is one of the hardest posts that I could possibly make,” Todd said. “She was a good kid, a better person and she just loved racing, she loved the community.”

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In another Facebook post shared by Kelly’s mother on Saturday, she said that Ashlea was her son’s fiancée. She said that the couple was involved in “a horrible car accident yesterday on their way home from a vacation.” After adding that their entire family was “shocked,” she fondly remembered the race car driver as someone who gave “some of the best” hugs. 

An online wedding registry states that Kelly and Albertson were set to get married on March 23, 2024, in Bloomington, Indiana.

The Indiana State Police did not immediately reply to PEOPLE’S request for comment.

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