Crash, fire in Jackson Co. shut down I-65 for nearly seventeen hours

A chemical spill and fire shut down the interstate for most of the day Wednesday

A messy multi-vehicle crash in Indiana shut down I-65 for nearly seventeen hours.

According to a release from ISP Sgt. Stephen Wheeles, Indiana State Police responded to a personal injury crash I-65S near the 43-mile marker just after 4:30am on Wednesday.

The initial investigation revealed that traffic was slowed in the area due to an earlier crash on I-65S. A tractor-trailer hauling hazardous chemicals driven by Uche Okpeh of Jacksonville, FL struck the rear of another semi driven by Vitali Kriuchkov of Orlando, FL that was stopped in the right lane. The collision forced Kriuchkov’s vehicle into the rear of a third tractor-trailer driven by Bobby Brand, of Gadsen, AL. 

A passenger in Okpeh’s vehicle, Senesie Kuyateh, of Jacksonville, FL was injured in the collision and was transported to Scott Memorial Hospital with injuries not believed to be life-threatening. None of the drivers were injured in the collision.

As a result of the crash, some of the chemicals from Okpeh’s vehicle spilled inside the trailer and onto the roadway. Lanes of I-65 were shut down while HazMat crews began clearing the scene. While the area was closed, traffic was directed off I-65 at Exit 50 (Seymour) and onto US 31 south to State Road 250 and back on I-65 at exit 41.

Related: All lanes of I-65 now open after semi crash in Jackson Co.

Crews managed to remove two of the vehicles from the scene, but, while removing the third, responders observed smoke and a dangerous reaction taking place inside the trailer. As a precaution, officers went to homes within a half mile of the scene and warned residents of the situation. Northbound lanes of I-65 were also shut down.

The semi caught fire around noon and became fully engulfed. The vehicle burned until approximately 4:00pm.

Once the fire was extinguished, crews were able to clean up the scene. Northbound lanes of I-65 reopened at 4pm. Southbound lanes remained closed until 9pm. As a result of the fire, the asphalt on I-65 near the 43-mile marker was damaged. Crews were able to make temporary repairs until permanent ones can be made.

The investigation is ongoing. It is not known at this time if anyone will be charged or cited as a result of the incident
 

© 2018 WHAS-TV


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