Crash at Indy’s south split sees vehicle launch clear over cars and an exit ramp

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INDIANAPOLIS — A terrifying crash on Indy’s south split ended with a car soaring over an exit ramp while clearing cars underneath.

“Crashes in the Indianapolis metro area on the interstates are not unusual,” says Indiana State Police (ISP) Sgt. John Perrine, “What is unusual is when a car goes airborne enough to clear an exit ramp and a vehicle on that ramp.”

The crash happened Wednesday shortly before noon. The Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) says a 40-year-old man was behind the wheel of a black Nissan Altima when he left the roadway just south of I-70 heading east bound. The car went through a grassy median before heading up a small hill at the edge of the median. The angle of the hill, combined with the vehicle’s speed, launched the Nissan over cars passing on the I-65 south bound ramp. Somehow no other cars were hit. The driver was taken to Eskenazi Hospital in critical condition.

“Sometimes we see these outcomes, and there’s no explanation other than the fact he was wearing a seatbelt,” adds Sgt. Perrine. IFD cannot confirm if the driver was wearing a seatbelt, but they believe it is probable. The driver was not wearing one when IFD arrived, but an off-duty firefighter had already been on scene earlier. They say it is possible that he removed it to try to help the man.

IFD believes the vehicle traveled more than a football field between where it left the road, and where it came to a stop on hill on the other side of the ramp. Martina Schuett was driving as the car soared over her minivan.

“I swerved left to try and miss him, and I just went perfectly underneath him as he hit into the grass,” remembers Schuett, “At least 30 to 40 feet in the air. Pretty frightening. I’m thankful it was me, and not a taller truck. It maybe would have hit him. It was really scary. I held my kids extra tight.”

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