FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) — A six-vehicle crash resulted in a death early Thursday morning.
Police say that three semis and three cars were involved in a crash on Interstate 69 North near 96th Street around 4:40 a.m. Officers said the crash was at least partially caused by a traffic jam from a construction zone.
A car driver was pronounced dead at the scene and two other drivers were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Lanes were closed in the area for several hours.
Police say there was a large fuel spill as a result of the crash.
Police have identified driver as 23-year-old Jaspreet Darar.
Wayne Pham said he met Darar in high school and he played a game of basketball with him two weeks. He wishes they could hang out one more time.
“I didn’t believe. I thought it was some cruel joke,” Pham said. “It kind of gives you a little enlightenment on just how short life is and that just makes the memories you have together that much better.”
EARLIER CRASH CLOSES LANES
Indiana State Police say the cause of the fatal crash is under investigation, but shortly before it happened construction crews had closed the northbound lanes of the interstate to set a bridge beam at 106th Street.
The construction closure led to a separate crash shortly before the six-vehicle accident. Two vehicles caught fire after colliding on I-69 northbound just north of 96th Street. Police say 23-year-old Morgan Thomas of Indianapolis rear-ended a 36-foot box truck. No one was injured, but all northbound lanes were closed for a while.
Thomas was taken into custody for suspected drunk driving.
Police believe the first crash and the construction both contributed to the accident that killed Darar.
“We try to plan these construction zones and these closures for the overnight hours because of the volume of traffic, but people need to expect to see traffic backups and they can happen in a moment’s notice,” Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine said.
INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield said the crews were working on a new exit near 106th Street, which INDOT expects to be completed by the end of the year.
Wingfield said one way INDOT tries to eliminate sudden traffic jams is by having an emergency vehicle gradually slow down on the road with lights flashing. The goal, Wingfield said, is to get drivers behind the emergency vehicle to slow down at a gradual pace.
The INDOT spokesman said the department will look into whether they should change anything.
Some drivers are already making changes.
“You have to plan for your day, so we’re leaving considerably early in the morning and taking extra time to do that commute,” Olivia Lovdell said.
INDOT is asking people to stay cautious in construction zones and turn on their blinkers when they hit a traffic jam.