Police investigate fatal chain reaction crash
A multi-vehicle crash on the Indiana East-West Toll Road in St. Joseph County claimed the life of a 69-year-old Ohio man and left his front-seat passenger badly injured on July 15. Police say that the cause of the fatal accident is still under investigation, but initial reports indicate that the man behind the wheel of the semi-tractor trailer that initiated the chain reaction crash did not apply his brakes or take any evasive action before striking a line of stopped vehicles.
Police responded to the accident scene in the westbound lanes of the Indiana Toll Road at approximately 1:15 p.m. The accident took place near mile marker 85.2 in the vicinity of Granger. Initial investigations indicate that a semi-tractor trailer and two SUVs were stationary due to heavy traffic caused by roadwork when a second semi approached at highway speeds. Traffic in the area had come to a virtual standstill due to ongoing construction work and two earlier accidents.
The approaching semi struck a trailer being towed by a Jeep SUV with sufficient force to propel it forward and into a Hyundai SUV. The Hyundai then struck a semi-tractor trailer, and all four vehicles came to a rest in the highway’s center median. First responders discovered the Hyundai beneath a semi about 300 feet from where it had been standing prior to the collision. Its driver was pronounced dead after arriving at an area hospital, and his 73-year-old passenger was also taken to hospital after suffering lacerations and a head injury in the crash.
Accidents involving vehicles that took no evasive action often cause catastrophic injuries or death, and this is particularly true when the vehicle concerned is a large and heavy commercial truck. This kind of crash is often caused by fatigued or distracted driving, and personal injury attorneys pursuing wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of the families of accident victims may scrutinize the hours of service records of truck drivers or their cellphone usage data in cases where drowsiness or distraction could have played a role.
Source: The South Bend Tribune, “Police ID victims in deadly Indiana Toll Road crash near Granger“, July 16, 2016