WHITELAND, Ind. (WISH) — A man died after a fiery semi crash on I-65 in Johnson County early Wednesday.
Indiana State Police identified the semi driver as 52-year-old Tyrone McKenney of Quinby, South Carolina.
After emergency crews put out the fire, a wrecker service hauling away the semi found a dog unhurt in the truck’s cab.
The animal is at Franklin Animal Clinic under the care of Needham Fire Department.
Southbound lanes were closed for eight hours near Whiteland as crews responded to the crash.
“Every mile down the road you never know what you’re going to come across,” said Bryan Corns, one of the good Samaritans who rushed to help McKenney.
“I was scared for the driver. It was pretty serious,” Corns said.
Corns was driving directly behind McKenney at the time of the crash.
“We went into a construction zone and I could tell he hit the barriers on the right hand side cause I seen sparks and a bunch of stuff fly and soon as we come out of the concrete barriers he drove off down the ditch and smacked into a big ol’ tree,” said Corns.
Moments after the crash three or four other truckers went to help McKenney.
“It happened real fast, I mean like within two to three minutes the entire cab and front half of the trailer was in flames,” said Steve Nicodemus, another good Samaritan. “It just makes you stop and think just how quick everything can go bad.”
“I was feeling pretty good about it because I thought, ‘Hey, you know what, the guy made it,’ and then the State Police called me and told me that he succumbed to his injuries at the hospital and its been a downer,” said Corns.
Both Corns and Nicodemus say they’ve helped truckers in the past. They say that’s what they do.
“When someone needs help, drivers will stop and help, that’s part of the creed of the road, you know? You help where you can,” said Nicodemus.
The good Samaritans say McKenney was able to tell them that his dog was in the cab of the truck.
The truck was hauling liquid protein. Cleanup forced state police to restrict traffic flow for part of the afternoon.
ISP says Corns was nearly burnt, inhaled smoke and got a lot of the semi liquid all over him as he pulled the driver from the semi.
The initial investigation shows that the semi veered off the road, ran into the guard rail and hit a tree before bursting into flames.
The driver died at the hospital.