The southbound lanes of I-65 in Jackson County have reopened after a three vehicle crash yesterday ended with a chemical fire.
Sgt. Stephen Wheeles with the Indiana State Police says that the lanes finally opened at about 9 p.m. last night after being closed almost all day. Because of the heat of the fire, the asphalt was damaged but crews made temporary repairs until INDOT can permanently fix the roadway.
The incident started at about 4:30 a.m. yesterday morning when a semi, driven by 30-year-old Uche J. Okpeh, of Jacksonville, Florida crashed into the rear of two semis stopped for a previous accident. Okpeh’s truck first hit the rear of a truck driven by Vitali Kriuchkov, age 34, of Orlando, Florida. Kriuchkov’s truck was forced forward into a truck being driven by Bobby L. Brand, age 46, of Gadsen, Alabama.
None of the drivers were injured in the crash, but Okpeh’s vehicle was hauling hazardous chemicals including a corrosive liquid weed killer, a caustic acid, an oxidizing solid called dantobrom, and a corrosive liquid glutaradehyde. The chemicals began spilling and mixing after the collision, Wheeles says.
As crews worked to take care of the leaking chemicals inside the box truck, they noticed smoke at about 10:45 a.m. and the crews retreated. The truck ignited at about noon and burned until about 4 p.m.
A passenger in one of the trucks was taken to Scott County Hospital with injuries that are believed to not be life threatening.