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Woman killed in Indiana crash on way to Cincinnati Children’s

Her family says she was in the clear after a life-long battle with a rare disease. Then the crash happened.
Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 11:36 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 6, 2022 at 11:47 AM EDT
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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ind. (WXIX) - A Lawrenceburg family is processing the loss of 20-year-old Makenzie Howell hours after her death.

The crash happened on Tuesday around 11 a.m. on US-52, according to Indiana State Police.

Dennis Poland, 30, was driving a Ford F-150 eastbound on US-52 near St. Peter’s Road when he crossed center into the path of 30-year-old Kari Hogeback in a Dodge Ram.

After those vehicles crashed, Poland’s vehicle slid sideways into the path of a semi, driven by 60-year-old Joseph Barkley, police said.

Barkley’s semi collided with the passenger side of Poland’s vehicle. Makenzie was a passenger in Poland’s truck. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Poland and Hogeback were transported to local hospitals for treatment of injuries. Barkley was uninjured in the crash.

Speed was likely a factor, police say. It’s unclear whether drugs or alcohol were present.

“I don’t know if it’s something you can fully process,” Danielle Howell, Makenzie’s mother, said Wednesday evening.

“She knew she was going to die young,” Danielle continued. “My heart never wanted to believe that.”

Danielle says her daughter was driving from Richmond to an appointment at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital because she had a liver transplant two years ago.

“She had her whole life ahead of her... She made it through the transplant... She done fought back from so many things,” Danielle said.

Makenzie had a rare genetic condition that caused growths on her liver.

“They would just get bigger and bigger and fill up to the point that her liver was three times the size it was supposed to be,” Danielle said. “It was intense and scary.”

Makenzie’s mother is heartbroken because they thought she was in the clear after the transplant. She also says Makenzie was the happiest she’d ever seen.

“If you spoke with her, you were touched by her.”

The crash investigation is ongoing.

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