UPDATE 3/17 3:20PM:
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - We have now learned the names of both victims in Saturdays fatal accidents.
Indiana State Police anounced the victim of the first crash was Morgan N. Johnson, 20, from Reelsville, Indiana. Johnson was the driver of the vehcile that burst into flames after getting hit by a semi.
The truck driver who caused the chain of crashes was Pierre St. Jean, 70, from Quebec. Indiana State Police say St. Jean failed to recognize the slowed traffic in the area which resulted in another semi and five pedestrain vehicles getting hit.
Indiana State Police also say this investiagion is still on going, but when it is completed it will be turned over to the Vigo County Prosecutor's Office.
Late Saturday night it was announced Joe Robinson, Jr., of Indianapolis, was driving the semi that caused the second accident along Interstate 70 according to Indiana State Police. That accident happened just before noon Saturday.
The passenger in that semi, April Robinson, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators say Micheal Workman of Glendale, Arizona was driving the semi that was hit. His passenger, Charles Tolbert of Yuma, sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries. Tolbert was flown to Indianapolis for treatment.
Police say both semi drivers were wearing their seatbelts. Drugs and alcohol are not believed to be factors in this crash.
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The westbound lanes of Interstate 70 between Brazil and Terre Haute remain closed after two separate accidents Saturday. Two people are dead as a result of the accidents and at least one other is seriously injured.
The first accident happened near the Highway 46 exit. It involved two semis and five passenger vehicles. Indiana State Police Sergeant Matt Ames confirms one person died in this accident.
According to Sgt. Ames, a state trooper was working an earlier accident near mile marker 10. A semi was stuck in the guide wire and first responders were helping a wrecker service get the semi out. Another trooper was directing traffic. Sgt. Ames says drivers failed to slow down and that contributed to the first fatal accident.
“We had a semi-tractor trailer that hit an SUV that was pulling an RV trailer. He hit that and then went into a passenger vehicle and then continued going westbound and then struck a commercial motor vehicle.”
Sgt. Ames says one of the passenger vehicles “went into flames” and a semi also caught fire. One of the passenger cars also crashed into two others.
One person died as a result of this accident and Sgt. Ames says two others were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Sgt. Ames says another serious accident happened in the westbound lanes shortly after the first accident.
“We had two troopers that were working the backup from the volume of traffic that’s located on Interstate 70, attempting to slow people down. We had one sitting literally a half mile away from this second fatality happening.”
Sgt. Ames explains a semi driver dropped a sandwich and reached down to pick it up. When the driver looked up he saw that traffic was stopped.
Sgt. Ames says the driver tried to avoid an accident with another semi by moving into the passing lane.
“The fuel lodge of his vehicle caught the rear end of the commercial motor vehicle’s trailer and at that time a small fire then irrupted.”
Sgt. Ames says the first semi went into the median and caught the grass on fire. He says troopers and others in the area tried to put out the fire and help the people involved in the accident.
Sadly, one person died in this accident. Another person was lifelined with back and neck injuries. Both of these people were in the sleeper berth areas of each semi and they were not secured.
Sgt. Ames says crews hope to have both wrecks cleaned up and traffic back open by 6pm.
Riley Fire Department, Honey Creek Fire Department, Indiana State Police, Terre Haute Police and the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department responded to the accidents.
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