By LISA MEYER TRIGG
Several people were injured, one seriously, in a seven-vehicle chain reaction collision on Interstate 70 near the 36-mile marker at 12:50 p.m. Wednesday.
The accident closed the westbound lanes of the highway for four hours, with traffic rerouted onto Ind. 243 north to U.S. 40.
Trooper Brian Maudlin of the Indiana State Police at Putnamville said the accident occurred when traffic stopped for a wide load. A 2007 Kenworth semi, driven by Quinton Maxey, 29, Houston, Texas, stopped for the wide load and three cars behind him also stopped. They were followed by a Volvo semi driven by James Stroop, 41, Dillsboro, Ind., who also was able to stop.
However, a westbound 2005 Freightliner semi driven by Shingara Singh, 48, New Hyde Park, N.Y., did not stop and ran into the back of the Volvo. The impact pushed the Volvo semi into the back of a 2005 Chevrolet driven by Elizabeth York, 28, Fort Branch, Ind. Her car was pushed into the back of a 2005 Chevrolet driven by Andrew Funkhouser, 27, Grayville, Ill., and his car hit the back of a 2000 Pontiac driven by Ashley Woerner, 24, Terre Haute.
York, Funkhouser and Woerner all suffered injuries, and were taken to St. Vincent Clay Hospital, along with Woerner's passengers, Nancy Cushman, 54, Marshall, Ill., and Cindy Brush, 28, West Terre Haute. They were all treated and released.
Semi driver Singh was also injured, but his passneger, Ranjit Singh, 32, Stockton, Calif., was seriously injured with a broken leg and facial fractures. He was airlifed to Wishard Hospital, Indianapolis, for treatment.
Maudlin said the impact was so strong the cab of the Volvo semi drove into the trailer up to the sleeper compartment on the passenger side of the Volvo. That is where Ranjit Singh was sitting, and is the reason for his injuries.
The Singh vehicle was hauling gallons of ice tea. None of the loads in any of the semi trucks spilled onto the highway, he reported.
Maudlin also reported that the impact also sent Funkhouser's car sideways into the side of a 2006 carhauler driven by Robert Camacho, 61, Michigan Center, Mich.
The westbound lanes of the interstate were closed until about 4:53 p.m. when the last of the big trucks was removed from the scene.
Other agencies assisting at the scene were the Putnam County Sheriff's Department, Cloverdale Township Volunteer Fire Dept., Indiana Department of Transportation, and Curtis Towing.