Crash claims eight lives on Indiana Toll Road

| 4/26/2007

A multi-vehicle crash Thursday morning on the Indiana Toll Road claimed eight lives and caused a shutdown of the westbound lanes in Elkhart County.

Indiana State Police confirmed the number of fatalities but had not yet released the names of the victims or confirmed the cause of the crash as of press time.

A police spokesman told Land Line that at 6:45 a.m. local time, a tractor-trailer hit four passenger cars that were either stopped or moving slowly in the westbound lanes near Mile Marker 102 while traffic was being cleared from an earlier incident at or near a construction zone.

Indiana Toll Road spokesman Matt Pierce told Land Line the crash occurred while traffic was being cleared after a semi had slid off the road. He said the crash impact pushed the four passenger vehicles into one or two other semis.

Following the crash, police closed the westbound lanes, diverting traffic at the Bristol Exit onto state Highway 120 at Mile Marker 101.

Police are investigating.

“It may be weeks until we know why or what (happened),” Sgt. Brian Olehy, a spokesman with the Indiana State Police, told Land Line.

Olehy said rain was forecast in the area, but he could not confirm if weather played a part in the initial slide-off or the crash.

Olehy said a truck driver was among the fatalities, but had no other details at the time.

– By David Tanner and Charlie Morasch, staff writers