ISP: Charges possible after four injured in I-70 chain-reaction crash

(Viewer Photo/Hope Berndt)

RICHMOND, Ind. (WISH) — More than a dozen vehicles were involved in a pileup on Interstate 70 close to Richmond Tuesday morning, as snow and wind wreaked havoc on Indiana roads.

Indiana State Police officials said westbound I-70 was closed at the 147 mile marker after the crash. Initial reports from police were that at least 30 vehicles were involved. After investigating, authorities determined that ten semis and five vehicles collided. The westbound lanes were opened around 5:30 Tuesday evening after more than seven hours.

According to Indiana State Police, a semi was traveling too fast for the white-out conditions, lost control and jack-knifed. Police say another semi came up over the hill, couldn’t stop and then started the chain-reaction crash.

“It was an incredible chain-reaction,” said Hope Berndt, who witnessed the westbound crashes in the eastbound lanes of I-70.

Hear more from Berndt in the video player below:

“All I kept feeling was boom, boom, boom sitting in that truck,” said Gino Lomonaco was involved in the crash.  “Scared [expletive]-less, sorry to say it like that, but I was scared that bad. I was like, ‘I want to get out this truck.'”

By the end of the chain reaction crash, Lomanaco’s truck was wedged in between at least four other semis.

“What we know is this first semi up here, the North American was going too fast for the existing weather conditions, lost control and jackknifed,” said ISP Sgt. John Bowling.

ISP said it would take hours to clear the area. Westbound drivers were diverted onto U.S. 35 and being instruction to take State Road 1. All drivers were being asked to avoid the area if possible.

“This location, the Salisbury Rd overpass and I-70 is known for crashes because overpasses are elevated and they ice over,” said Bowling. “Weather does not cause a crash your driving behavior in that weather is what causes a crash.

Despite the mangled mess, the semi that state police says caused the crash was able to be driven away, while others were a total loss.

Police said there were only four injuries reported, the worst being a severely broken leg.

ISP said the investigation in ongoing and criminal charges are possible.

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