Multi-Vehicle Pile-ups Cause Mayhem In Indianaby Jana Ritter - Published: 1/13/2016
Whiteout conditions and speed are blamed for Tuesday’s chain reaction pile-up involving multiple jackknifed semi-trucks and about 40 vehicles, shutting down the I-74 in both directions in southeast Indiana.
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According to the Indiana State Police, a "sudden squall of snow caused whiteout conditions" on the stretch of highway near the Indiana-Ohio state line and a truck driver going too fast for the slick road conditions, caused his semi-truck to jackknife and ignite a 30-vehicle chain reaction pile-up at around 11 a.m. “What we know is this first semi up here, the North American was going too fast for the existing weather conditions, lost control and jackknifed,” said ISP Sgt. John Bowling. Police say that just as the first truck lost control, another semi came up over the hill, couldn’t stop and thus began the chain-reaction crash.
Then, a second pileup involving more than 10 vehicles happened less than a quarter mile behind the original one. The two pile-ups left a chaotic trail of semi-trucks, cars and debris for a half-mile stretch and forced closures of both eastbound and westbound lanes for hours. Miraculously, everyone survived and no serious injuries were reported. "The first pileup involved mostly commercial vehicles, and a lot of trucks were left in pieces. There's quite extensive damage on most vehicles in the pileup, and some are completely totaled. Six people on scene were transported to local area hospitals for non-life threatening injuries, which is amazing, considering the circumstances," confirmed a spokesperson for the Indiana State Police.
“It was an incredible chain-reaction,” said Hope Berndt, who witnessed the westbound crashes on I-70. A driver involved in the crash said that he got hit at least five different times and there wasn’t much he could do about it. “I got bumped around pretty good in there," said the driver. Gino Lomonaco was among the truck drivers involved in the first crash and wound up wedged in between at least four other semis. “All I kept feeling was boom, boom, boom sitting in that truck,” he said. “Scared s**#-less, sorry to say it like that, but I was scared that bad. I was like, ‘I want to get out this truck.'”
Sgt. Bowling said that the Salisbury Rd overpass and I-70 is known for crashes because overpasses are elevated but it still comes down to drivers. “Weather does not cause a crash your driving behavior in that weather is what causes a crash.” Indiana State Police also said that the investigation is still ongoing and criminal charges are possible.