Semi driver charged in deadly Grant County crash

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GRANT COUNTY, Ind. A semi driver is being charged in the death of a man killed in a crash in Grant County back in August of 2020.

The crash happened shortly before 7 p.m. on August 3.

An investigation by Indiana State Police shows 62-year-old Charles Wright Jr., of Markleville, was driving a 2020 International semi-tractor southbound on I-69 near the 267 mile marker. Wright Jr. failed to see that traffic was slowed or stopped due to construction and crashed into the back of a 2018 Kia Sedona driven by 62-year-old Gary Byrd, of Indianapolis, according to ISP.

State police say the impact spun Byrd’s Kia Sedona, and it slammed into the rear of a 2001 Peterbilt semi-tractor, pinning it between the two semis. The 2001 Peterbilt semi-tractor was pushed into the back of a 2020 Freightliner tractor.

ISP says Byrd was pronounced dead at the scene, and Wright Jr. was taken to Marion General Hospital for minor injuries. The drivers of the Peterbilt semi-tractor and Freightliner tractor were not injured.

Wright Jr. was treated at the hospital and released. His blood was drawn and sent to the Indiana Department of Toxicology for alcohol and drug analysis. State police say that in a statement made to a Grant County Sheriff’s deputy, Wright Jr. claimed he saw that traffic was slowed, but when he tried to use the brakes, nothing happened.

On June 22 of 2021, Wright Jr. was charged with causing death when operating a vehicle with a schedule I or II controlled substance in the blood.

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