HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. — State Police said a deadly crash on I-70 in Hancock County Saturday night happened quickly in a dangerous stretch of the highway.
”In the area that they were there were no shoulders to pull off onto, there are only two lanes there and it’s dark so that is a very very dangerous combination,” said ISP Sgt. John Perrine.
ISP said the crash started with a motorcycle colliding with a stopped truck and trailed in the right lane of I-70 eastbound near the 97 mile marker, that’s just past the Mt. Comfort Exit.
The motorcycle and driver were thrown into the left where a car and semi hit them. The motorcycle became tangled under the semi and caught fire.
”The semi that was burned was heavily damaged and very difficult to move, they had to unload the burnt contents and then remove the wreckage as well. Because of the congestion in that area and the tight lanes it hampered the efforts of getting recovery efforts to the scene,” Perrine said.
The motorcycle driver, 47-year-old Mark Webster from Richmond, died in the crash.
The wreckage, clean up and investigation all caused eastbound I-70 to be closed for seven hours and westbound I-70 to be closed for two hours.
Greg Duda with Hancock County 911 said this is an unfortunate reminder how quickly things can get dangerous on the road.
“Anyone who is traveling I-70 for whatever reason, it may look free flowing right now but that could change in a moment,” Duda said.
Kyleigh Cramer with INDOT said if your car stalls out in the area where there is not a shoulder to pull off to you need to call 911 as soon as you can.
”This way we insure that 911 and the police can make it out to you and have their lights on and behind your car,” Cramer said.
When a crash as serious as Saturday happens it often means shutting down both directions of I-70 to get emergency vehicles in. This can mean cars stuck waiting for the traffic to clear for hours, creating problems for those stuck.
“People needing food, people needing water,” Duda said. “There are some people, not this time around, but people who are diabetic who need medicine.”
Duda said if you are traveling this stretch of I-70, take it slow and be prepared for a possible traffic jam.
“Be sure to have some water, some food, anything that you think you might need,” he said.
Or be ready with an alternate route, Hancock County 911 Center operates a texting service that lets people know when there is a jam on I-70.
“That way we can get fewer cars on the road and everyone can find a route to get home safely,” Duda said.
To sign up for alerts about delays on I-70 from the Hancock County 911 Center just text “I70Hancock” to 226787.
Cramer said the I-70 work in Hancock County is on track to be finished by the end of 2024. When it’s done, there will be three lanes going in both directions.