THORNTOWN, Ind. (WISH) -
Southbound Interstate 65 in Boone County was shut down after a semi overturned Thursday morning, and a fiery crash in the resulting traffic backup turned fatal.
At about 5:30 a.m. Thursday, Jose Rivera, 23, fell asleep at the wheel of his semi tractor trailer and woke up as he was veering onto the shoulder, then overcorrected and flipped the semi, the Boone County Sheriff's Department said. He was uninjured, but the crash blocked both southbound lanes of the interstate.
In the resulting backup, two semis collided in the southbound lanes at the Thorntown exit just before 6 a.m.
The driver of a semi hauling car parts swerved into the right lane to miss traffic, but ended up slamming into the back of another semi, driven by Robert Collins, 63, Faison, N.C., and hauling 43,000 pounds of French fries. Collins was uninjured, but the semi that rear-ended him burst into flames with the driver trapped inside. Deputies and witnesses tried to rescue him, to no avail, and he was eventually pronounced dead at the scene, the Boone County Sheriff's Department said.
Traffic was re-routed southbound on Ind. 47 for hours. In the heavy traffic on that road, another crash occurred on the bridge over I-65.
Brenda Farmer, 52, Lebanon, was westbound on Ind. 47 in an SUV, unaware of the backup. She collided with a car driven by Lisa Coffman, 37, Thorntown, pushing her into the rear of a semi. All three drivers were treated at the scene and released.
The interstate remained closed until about 3 p.m. Thursday.
The identity of the semi driver killed has not been released.
UPDATE 10:45 P.M.: Many Indiana State Police dispatches were reporting accidents on major roads due to slick weather conditions Sunday night.
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