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Crash shuts down I-65 NB in White County, Indiana

REMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Strong winds may have led to two crashes involving three semitractor-trailers, a semi-tanker and a box truck that closed northbound Interstate 65 on Tuesday afternoon.

The northbound lanes remained closed at 10:15 p.m. Tuesday. Indiana Department of Transportation estimated that could be closed through at least 2 a.m. Wednesday.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Glen Fifield encouraged motorists to take alternate routes after the crashes that happened about 3 p.m. The traffic map just before 5 p.m. showed traffic backed up nearly 14 miles on the rural stretch of Interstate 65. Traffic later was diverted onto U.S. 421, according to the Indiana Department of Transpiration online highway information page.

The first crash happened about 3 miles south and the second happened about 4 miles south of the U.S. 24/U.S. 231 interchange near the communities of Remington and Wolcott, according to state police.

In the first crash, a gust of wind blew a semi’s trailer airborne and it hit another northbound semitractor-trailer. Both drivers lost control. One struck a guardrail and crashed in a ditch. The other hit a concrete bridge abutment, causing the cab to separate from the vehicle frame. That semi ended up in a creek. The drivers were taken to a hospital with injuries not believed to be life-threatening.

The second crash involving a semitractor-trailer, a semitractor-tanker and a box truck happened moments later farther south. The semitractor-trailer was slowing for the earlier crash when it was rear-ended by the semitractor-tanker. That crash pushed the semi-tanker into the box truck, which crashed into a ditch. The semi-tanker then jackknifed and crashed in the median and a ditch. The box truck driver had to be extricated and suffered injuries not believed to be life-threatening.

State police on Tuesday night did not include names of the drivers in a news release.

Fifield had initially estimated Tuesday afternoon that the extensive cleanup could delay the reopening of both lanes until 10:30 p.m. Tuesday or 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.

WOLCOTT, Ind. (WLFI) — For the third time since December, pigeons were found dumped at an Interstate 65 rest stop, according to Sgt. Kim Riley with Indiana State Police.

Riley said troopers were notified overnight. Riley said he couldn’t comment whether or not state police were investigating.

Rest Park Lead Staff Therese White said an attendant at the northbound Wolcott rest stop on I-65 found seven boxes in the same dumpster where 88 were found in late February and 57 were dumped in December

White said at least 50 were found in boxes this time; five were dead. She said the birds were found in the same type of mozzarella cheese boxes that the others were found in. She said she believes someone put them in the dumpster between 11 p.m. Sunday and 2:30 a.m. Monday. 

During the March discovery, rehabilitators said the birds found had the same tags on them as the ones found in December. The tags had the name and phone number of a Dublin, Ohio, man. At the time, WLFI attempted to make calls to the number provided. It was disconnected.

In total, at least 195 pigeons have now been found dumped in the same dumpster. Wildlife rehabilitators said in previous discoveries that the pigeons were part of an illegal gambling ring and were abused.

Hoots to Howls Wildlife Rehabilitation was called to take the pigeons. 

White said there are not cameras near the dumpster.

The rest stop is about 70 miles northwest of Indianapolis.

WOLCOTT, Ind. (WLFI) — Wildlife rehabilitation experts said 88 more pigeons were found at an Interstate 65 rest stop where 57 others were dumped in December. 

“It’s a crazy situation,” said Kim Hoover with Hoots to Howls Wildlife Rehabilitation

Hoover was notified Feb. 28 of the dumping. An attendant at the White County rest stop on northbound I-65 called her. Hoover said nine boxes, identical to those found in December, were filled with pigeons in a dumpster. Four of the 88 pigeons were found dead, Hoover said. 

The discovery now makes 145 pigeons found dumped in the same dumpster. Indiana State Police on Dec. 10 recovered 57 pigeons. Hoover never thought she would see another situation such as this again.

“I thought it was a rare act, never happen again, once-in-a-lifetime. As heart-wrenching as it was then, it happens to months later and you’re like ‘Really?'” she said.

Unlike the December discovery where the birds were buried in the dumpster, this flock was found on top of trash. Hoover said they likely were dumped overnight between Feb. 27 and Feb. 28. 

“They’re gorgeous birds,” Hoover said. “These are some of the prettiest pigeons I’ve ever seen. It just stinks.”

She said pigeon enthusiasts reached out to her and helped fill in some of the blanks. The pigeons found in the dumpster are Parlor Roller pigeons. They are bred for their ability to somersault on the ground. People roll them on the ground in competitions to see how far they can go. 

There are pigeon clubs who compete with these birds humanely, but Hoover said she believes these dumpster pigeons were part of an illegal gambling ring and were abused. She said both times she came to rescue the birds, they had parasites on them and the boxes they were in did not have breathing holes. 

“There’s a lot of money being made and I am told that this fellow could care less about fines because he knows they won’t get in trouble,” she said.

Hoover said the birds found recently had the same tags on them as the ones found in December. The tags had the name and phone number of a Dublin, Ohio, man. WLFI attempted to make calls to the number provided and it has been disconnected.  The fact that the man is located out of state is causing problems for who is responsible to help.

“The animal control of Dublin, Ohio, which is where they come from, says they were dumped in Indiana, and Indiana is like, ‘Well, they came from Ohio,'” Hoover said. 

Hoover said she is worried that this has happened at this rest stop other times but, unfortunately, those birds were not found in time. She suggested the rest stop get security cameras, but found out that the state won’t fund it.

Wildlife centers in Valparaiso and Illinois took a majority of the birds from Hoover. She has 11 left in her care. She said she has received offers of help from other people as well, for which she is thankful.

So, what’s next for the birds?

“They have got to get their health up and hopefully then adopted out,” she said. “They are trying to find people who understand the birds, and you don’t want them to go back into the same situation they came from.”

WOLCOTT, Ind. (WLFI) — Heavy smoke may be to blame for a fatal crash in White County on Friday.

It happened at the intersection of U.S. 24 and County Road 700 West, just east of Wolcott.

Investigators said five cars and a semitractor were involved.

Sheriff Pat Shafer said somebody was burning field debris along U.S. 24. Witnesses said heavy smoke was blowing across the road and making it difficult to see.

Two people were taken to a hospital in Lafayette, and one driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

U.S. 24 was closed off, and a reconstruction team was called to the scene. It reopened around 7:30 p.m.

The sheriff’s office is not releasing names at this time as the investigation is ongoing.

WOLCOTT, Ind. (WLFI) – An all-terrain vehicle crash in White County sent two to the hospital Tuesday afternoon.

The ATV rollover happened just north of State Road 18 on South 1100 West around 1:30 p.m. Indiana Department of Natural Resources conservation officers said 15-year-old Kathryn Turchi, of West Lafayette, Ind., was operating an ATV with 400 pounds of liquid fertilizer in the bed. Another teen, 15-year-old Nicole McGrath, also of West Lafayette, was riding in the passenger seat.

DNR officers said Turchi did a U-turn in the roadway. But upon straightening out, the ATV rolled over into a field along the roadway.

Authorities said McGrath was thrown from the off-road vehicle. The girls were conscious when police arrived. They were taken to IU Health Arnett in Lafayette and are being treated for possible internal injuries.

Investigators believe the 400-pound load of liquid fertilizer contributed to the rollover.

The case remain under investigation. DNR said it’s unclear whether or not the teens were wearing seat belts.

Indiana conservation officers would like to remind anyone operating or riding on an off-road vehicle to wear a helmet and other protective equipment.