Canadian man dies in I-69 semi crash near Gas City; 2nd crash of 2 semis happens in backup

(WISH Photo, File)

GAS CITY, Ind. (WISH) — A man from Ontario, Canada, died Tuesday morning in a semitractor-trailer crash about 2 miles north of the U.S. 35/State Road 22 exit near Gas City, Indiana State Police said in a news release.

Officers with the state police and the Grant County Sheriff’s Office were called shortly after 11:25 a.m. Tuesday to the crash. William Wilcox, 65, was driving a 2020 Freightliner semitractor pulling a box trailer south on I-69 near the 261.5-mile marker. For an undetermined reason, the Freightliner traveled off the west side of the road and down an embankment before crashing into multiple trees in a woodline.

Wilcox, who was not wearing a seat belt, died in the crash.

The crash caused an hourlong traffic backup on southbound I-69 that ended midafternoon, which led to another crash.

Officers were at the rear of the backup with emergency lights activated to warn and slow traffic. Near the 264-mile marker, a 2020 Freightliner driven by Charles Wagner, 71, of Springfield, Illinois, rear-ended a flatbed trailer that was being pulled by a 2006 Volvo semitractor. The Freightliner caught fire. The Volvo, which was driven by Oumar Muhamed, 49, of Indianapolis, was slowing down due to the traffic backup.

Wagner escaped with a minor injury to one of his hands. Muhamed was not injured.