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[ISP] Interstate 70 Crash Claims Two Lives
Start Date: 5/16/2012Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 5/16/2012
Entry Description

Vigo County—At 5:00 this evening, Indiana State Police troopers and multiple Vigo County emergency agencies responded to a commercial motor vehicle crash that involved two tractor-trailers and claimed two lives. The crash occurred in the eastbound driving lane of Interstate 70 near the 12 mile marker.

Preliminary investigation revealed a white 2012 International Freightliner tractor pulling a box trailer loaded with seafood and driven by Rene M. Rodriguez, age 33, of Tuscon, Arizona was in the driving lane slowing for construction zone traffic. Without warning, the Rodriguez unit was struck in the rear by a white 1996 Freightliner tractor pulling a box trailer loaded with produce. The second or rear truck then burst into flames. The driver and passenger were pronounced deceased at the scene. The tractor-trailer in which the deceased were operating was RSA Express LLC of Dearborn, Michigan.

The two deceased victims were taken to Terre Haute Regional Hospital where an autopsy and attempts to positively identify them will begin tomorrow by Pathologist and Vigo Coroner Dr. Roland Kohr. The identification may take some time as law enforcement attempts to locate family members and medical records.

The victims were entrapped in the wreckage (deceased) for 90 minutes as their recovery was hampered by the tremendous crush damage and subsequent fire. The extrication and fire suppression was a combined effort between the Riley, Honey Creek Township, and Terre Haute City fire departments.

Both lanes of eastbound I-70 are still closed with anticipation of opening the passing lane any minute. The westbound lanes remained open the entire time.

An inspection of both commercial motor vehicles by ISP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Master Troopers Chuck Tharp and Matt Ames resulted in the Rodriguez vehicle placed out of service for log book violations. The burnt unit (second tractor-trailer) has thus far been found to have no deficiencies.

The crash was investigated by ISP Troopers Ted Robertson and Michael Featherling. Assisting were numerous troopers from the Putnamville Post, Vigo County Sheriff’s Office, Terre Haute Police Department, Indiana Department of Transportation, Vigo County Coroner’s Office, Lifeline Air Ambulance, Prairieton and Seelyville Fire Departments, Vigo County Emergency Management, and Peffley and Hinshaw Wrecker Service.

Contact Information:
Name: Sergeant Joe Watts
Phone: (765) 653-4114
Email: jwatts@isp.in.gov
Fatal Crash I70
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Alerts and Notification
  • IN.gov Category:
  • Government
  • Residents
  • Agency Name
    Police, Indiana State

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