A driver traveling south in the northbound lanes of I-65 at the 99.7 mile marker in Johnson County was killed early Friday afternoon after colliding head-on with a semi-tractor trailer.
Indiana State Police (ISP) say that at approximately 1 p.m., Troopers were notified of the crash, which occurred just north of the Greenwood Main Street Exit. Troopers arrived to find the wreckage engulfed in flames.
ISP say that preliminary investigation and witnesses statements reveal that a pickup truck was speeding south in the northbound lanes of the Interstate. Investigators say the pickup was traveling in the northbound passing lane. They noted that this area of I-65 is under construction and has three lanes northbound with a concrete median barrier separating traffic heading south.
State Police go on to say that a semi-tractor trailer, driven by 50-year-old Toby Klar, of Nashville, TN., was traveling north in the middle lane. The preliminary investigation has led authorities to believe that the pickup truck abruptly turned into the path of the semi, causing a head on crash. The collision caused the semi-tractor trailer, which was full of shelving materials, to flip onto its passenger side. ISP say that Klar was not injured.
Investigators say that after the initial collision, the pickup truck continued southbound and was struck by a car before coming to rest against the concrete barrier wall. It then erupted in flames. The driver of the pickup was unable to escape and was pronounced dead at the scene by the Johnson County Coroner’s Office.
The driver of the car that was struck by the pickup after the initial collision with the semi, 47-year-old Donald Whitney, of Greenwood, was transported to Methodist Hospital. Authorities say that he suffered “non-life threatening” injuries.
ISP say that two additional vehicles were involved in the crash. However, they sustained only property damage. Police went on to say that and neither the drivers, nor passengers, were hurt.
Authorities say that they are unsure at this time why the driver of the pickup truck drove north, head-on in to the southbound lanes of traffic. They added that the investigation is ongoing. ISP added that the cleanup efforts are also continuing. Officials say the earliest that the northbound lanes of the Interstate will be reopened is 6 p.m.
Indiana State Police say that the identity of the deceased pickup truck driver is being withheld for the time being. They say that the Johnson County Coroner’s Office needs to make a positive identification, then the family must be notified.