Fiery crash shuts down I-65; drivers stranded for hours

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LAFAYETTE – I-65 north near Lafayette is now back open after a massive and fiery pile-up closed the interstate for several hours.
The crash happened a mile south of State Road 25 in Lafayette. It was around 2:50 p.m. on Saturday.
According to Indiana State Police, there was a semi that slowed down because a crash happened in front of him. There were other semi trucks behind him that did not stop because they were either driving too fast for these snowy conditions or they were driving too close.
There were 9 semi trucks and 4 cars involved in the first crash and other crashes immediately happened behind that one. One of the semi trucks caught on fire. The fire started in its engine. Investigators do not know how many cars were involved in the other crashes.
Several agencies were called to investigate, including ISP, Lafayette Police, FEMA and INDOT. There were 4 people who were taken to hospitals in the area. They had non-life threatening injuries.
As of 10 p.m. on Saturday, the area between exit 172 and exit 175 on I-65 north remained closed. ISP Sgt. Kim Riley said it could stay closed for an additional 4 to 5 hours. Because of that, ISP helped people get off the highway after they were stranded for hours.
Bill Reynolds was driving on the highway when the fiery crash and traffic jam happened.
“We were coming down and I saw the semi in front of me start to stop so I hit my breaks. It took probably about a quarter-mile to stop and I was hoping the semi’s behind me stopped and they did,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds’ friends walked up the highway to see the crash up close.
“They came back and said (there are) semi’s on fire and people were running from the accident. I talked to somebody who heard some of (the) cars exploded,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds said it was hard for emergency crews to get to the scene because there were cars all over the highway. He said it was snowing when he was driving. Lafayette received about 5 inches of snow.
“The road was like a sheet of ice. It was like a skating rink out here. So it was tough,” Reynolds said.
Many people got out of their cars and tried to entertain themselves, because they were stuck in traffic for hours.
“I had no trouble at all traveling. the interstate was actually …..they were doing a nice job keeping it clear up until I got to this point and then we came to a stop,” Roger Adams said.
Crews will continue cleaning up and investigating.
“This is a first. On the news, I’ve seen it (laughter). But, (I have) never (seen it) this close and we were probably 15 seconds behind it. So it was close,” Reynolds said.

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