GREENFIELD — A late morning bout of snow left one man dead, several with minor injuries and snarled traffic for hours along Interstate 70 near Greenfield.
Police are not releasing the name of the Indianapolis man who was killed when the vehicle he was traveling in flipped on the slippery interstate while trying to avoid another crash.
Greenfield Police Maj. Derek Towle said the victim of the accident is not being publicly identified because a member of his family still hadn’t been notified.
Towle said the man was the passenger in a delivery truck for Jackson Oil and Solvents when the vehicle, traveling on westbound Interstate 70 near Fortville Pike, veered to avoid another slide-off around 11:30 a.m. The vehicle flipped, its cab crushing the victim who police believe died instantaneously.
There was also a five-car pileup, a state trooper who sustained minor injuries when his patrol car was struck from behind and a few other slide-offs nearby causing minor damages to vehicles.
“We had about five crashes within a five-minute time period,” Towle said. “It was hard to keep track of who all was where, which car on which incident and trying to coordinate the detour of traffic.”
Indiana State Trooper Wade Heiny was assisting at a crash scene when his patrol car was struck from behind. Heiny only had bumps and bruises, the others were not seriously injured, according to a press release from the ISD.
Greenfield Police Cpl. Chuck McMichael was lucky. Standing along the interstate just east of Greenfield directing traffic, McMichael’s squad car was crushed by a semi tractor-trailer that lost control on the snow-covered road.
“He’s not injured at all; he’s shaken up a little bit,” said Chief John Jester, who added that the vehicle is a complete loss. “It’s ripped apart. He was very lucky.”
The interstate was shut down roughly two hours. Towle said the number of slide-offs is not surprising given the condition of I-70 at the time – what seemed to be a solid sheet of ice that was perfectly drivable as soon as salt was put down. Troopers had a hard time walking from one scene to the next, taking down reports.
“It was very difficult to walk out on the interstate, much less to drive,” he said.