LAGRANGE CO., Ind. (ADAMS) – Tuesday evening at approximately 5:30 pm, Indiana State troopers were dispatched to investigate a multi-vehicle crash on the I-80/90 Toll Road at the 120-mile marker, northwest of Howe, IN. Arriving on the scene, troopers found three commercial vehicles piled up and blocking both westbound lanes of travel.
Indiana State Police released the following:
Two of the three involved drivers were injured in the crash, one of which (Robert Klimek, 69, of Johnstown, Pennsylvania) was entrapped for an extended period of time. Due to the nature of the collision, a cooperative effort between the Howe & Shipshewana Fire Department(s) and Grates wrecker service was required to separate the heavily damaged vehicles in order to effect the extraction of Klimek from the cab of his truck. Upon extraction Klimek was flown from the scene by Samaritan helicopter to PRMC in Fort Wayne. The extent of his injuries was unknown. The second injured driver, Mohammad Rahim Azami, 33, of Lakewood, Ohio, sustained only minor injuries. He was transported by ambulance to Parkview hospital in LaGrange, where he was treated and later released. The third driver, Jason Nine, 49, of Lakeville, Indiana, was not injured.
Senior Trooper Anthony Canul’s preliminary investigation found that at the time of the crash both westbound lanes of travel were backed up and stopped due to road construction two miles ahead at the 118 mile marker. For an unknown reason, Robert Klimek, operating a white 2020 Peterbilt semi-tractor pulling a loaded car hauler, failed to recognize the stopped traffic ahead of him and crashed into the rear of a gray 2014 Volvo semi-tractor/trailer driven by Mohammad Rahim Azami. This initial impact caused the Volvo to then crash into the rear of a blue 2005 Kenworth dump truck that was also stopped in traffic, driven by Jason Nine.
The westbound lanes of I-80/90 were shut down for nearly four and a half hours while crews worked to clear the vehicles and crash debris from the roadway.
Senior Trooper Canul (Fort Wayne Post) was assisted by Trooper(s) Brandon Johnson and Garrett Tharp (Toll Road Post), Shipshewana and Howe fire departments, Parkview EMS, Parkview Samaritan, ITRCC maintenance, and Grates Towing.
*Although the exact reason for this particular “construction zone” collision has not yet been clearly identified, the Indiana State Police are clearly finding it way too common for motorists to be traveling at high rates speeds and not paying attention within our Hoosier construction zones. Traffic flow through a construction zone is ever changing and often sudden and unexpected, making excessive speed and distracted driving a recipe for disaster! The Indiana State Police reminds all motorists to slow down and pay attention- especially while navigating through our interstate construction zones.