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ISP: Distracted driving blamed in fiery crash

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indiana State Police say a distracted semi driver caused a crash on Interstate 65 early Wednesday morning that shut down the roadway for several hours and caused a miles-long back up.

According to police, around 5:30 a.m. the semi, which was carrying hazardous materials, hit an abandoned car on the right shoulder of I-65 southbound near 38th Street. The driver, 35-year-old David Gruendler, from Fort Wayne, told investigators he was “messing with his radio” before drifting off the road and hitting the car. The semi then burst into flames.

Police say the truck was carrying 17,000 pounds of potassium hydroxide. Hazmat crews responded to the scene to clear the material and assure there was no harm to anyone nearby.

Southbound traffic was shut down for several hours and motorists were diverted off the interstate. It was re-opened around 8 a.m.

Police say Gruendler was not hurt. They also said there would be lane restrictions throughout the day Wednesday as crews continue to clean up the scene.

According to police, 3,154 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2013. Approximately 424,000 people were injured.