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53-year-old woman dies in crash after stopping on ramp with flat tire

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - An Indianapolis woman is dead after being hit on I-70 Wednesday morning while waiting for help with a flat tire, according to Indiana State Police.

Police Sgt. John Perrine said Laura Moreno Bravo, 53, was sitting inside a Toyota Rav4, a compact sport utility vehicle, with a disabled tire around 5:30 a.m. on I-70 near Ameriplex Parkway and the Indianapolis International Airport. 

"She was off the road, considered to be on the shoulder, when her vehicle was struck from behind from a pickup truck that was on the interstate," Perrine said. 

Moreno Bravo was not ejected from her vehicle and was not wearing a seatbelt, according to state police. Perrine said it was not immediately clear if her seatbelt would have changed the outcome of the crash. 

The other vehicle was a Ford F-150 truck driven by Michael Norman, 69, also from Indianapolis. Norman was injured the accident and taken to the hospital but was expected to survive.

Perrine said alcohol is not believed to have played a role in the accident. 

The median where Moreno Bravo was parked is called the "gore point," according to state police. Gore points are described as markings on the road designed to control traffic. They are bounded by a solid line, often with diagonal lines running through the interior. 

"Gore points not always the safest place to stop, but it might be your only option," Perrine said. "Maybe back up as close to the concrete wall as you can, if there is one, and just monitor that traffic and be aware." 

State police say driving through a gore point to change lanes or exit the roadway is an offense that can result in a ticket costing the driver from $150-$175. 

"Traffic should not be driving on those gore points," Perrine said. "In an emergency it is somewhere people choose to stop at no fault of their own and you can't blame somebody for having car trouble and pulling over on the side of the road." 

Flat tires happen across Indianapolis every day. Greg Seiter with AAA Hoosier Motor Club said the best practices for handling a flat tire on the freeway. 

"We strongly recommend that you get out through the passenger-side door. Generally speaking, we suggest that you pull off to the right hand side of the road," Seiter said.

If you're fixing the auto problem on your own, Seiter said, make sure you are as far away from moving traffic as possible, even if that means driving onto grass or along a tree line. Also, be prepared with a safety kit that includes a reflective vest, triangular markers or flares, and emergency tools. He also recommended keeping your cellphone charged and opening the hood of your vehicle if it is safe to make your vehicle even more visible. 

"Generally most experts agree that it's safest to remain inside the vehicle," he said, adding that motorists should not run their engines or roll their windows down all the way while idling. 

Perrine said if you are making phone calls for help, you can add 911 to the list. 

"They can call a police officer to come sit with them, and we'll respond as quick as we can to offer some emergency lighting, maybe some assistance getting a tow truck or some assistance there," Perrine said. 

To read more safety recommendations from AAA Hoosier Auto Group, visit their public safety website.

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