Five people are dead including a truck driver following a
five-vehicle crash and fire Tuesday afternoon on the Indiana Toll Road.
Trucker Clyde Roberts, 57, of Stanley, WI, was among those
who were killed.
Two women and two children died in a minivan that Roberts’ truck collided with, according to Indiana State Police Sgt. Trent Smith.
Smith told “Land Line Now” on XM Satellite Radio that
investigators will have a tough time reconstructing the crash scenario because
the vehicles were burned almost to the ground.
“There was absolutely nothing left of the cab,” Smith said.
Smith did say that Roberts’ truck had a Wisconsin license
tag, but virtually nothing else about the truck could be determined at the
Investigators will try to piece together what happened
beyond what they already know – that vehicles approaching a construction site
about 3:45 p.m. were slowing down or stopping to merge into the right eastbound
“We don’t know exactly what the pre-crash vehicle action was
yet of Roberts or of the driver of the minivan (both eastbound),” Smith said.
“We don’t know if the driver of the minivan was already
stopped, if she was still moving, or cut him off,” he said. “We don’t know if
he was driving too fast or was driving safely.”
Police are certain, he said, that another semi, a toll-road
maintenance truck and a passenger car were either slowed or stopped in the
right lane because of the construction zone just before the crash happened.
“There weren’t a lot of witnesses, so that was part of the
problem,” Smith said.
“It’s going to take a little bit longer than usual to
reconstruct this scene because of the severity of the damage and the fire to
find out exactly what was the cause, if that can ever be determined.”
Weather conditions were not a factor, Smith said, as Tuesday
was clear and 90 degrees at the time of the crash.
Smith said there was evidence of skid marks and gouge marks
in the pavement.
The speed limit in the region is typically 70 mph. Smith
said the crash happened in a construction zone marked for 45 mph.
Investigators had not yet determined the speed of any of the
vehicles at the time of impact.
“People were merging right, and as too many cars got into
that right lane, people started slowing down as they funneled their way through
the construction zone, and that’s how things started to get backed up,” Smith
In addition to the fatalities, there was one other injury in
the crash. A toll-road maintenance worker was taken to a hospital with an
unspecified head injury, Smith said.
– By David Tanner and Reed Black, staff writers