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Illinois semi driver killed, Cloverdale wrecker operator injured in I-70 accident

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

MONROVIA -- A semi driver, whose rig had become disabled along Interstate 70 in western Hendricks County Tuesday morning, was fatally injured in an accident near the State Road 39 interchange.

At approximately 7:36 a.m., Indiana State Police responded to a crash at the 57-mile marker of I-70 eastbound.

Preliminary investigation revealed that a white International tractor pulling a trailer had become disabled eastbound on the right shoulder approximately one mile west of State Road 39.

That vehicle was in the process of being towed by a 2003 Peterbilt wrecker from Curtis Wrecker Service, Little Point, when the fatal incident began to unfold.

Investigators determined that traffic was slowing down and moving over when a green eastbound 2003 Freightliner tractor approached the scene pulling two trailers.

According to witness accounts, the vehicle driven by Richard C. Maples, 60, Wilmington, Ohio, was allegedly going faster than the other vehicles near the scene, State Police reported.

Arnold O. Rexroad, 64, Effingham, Ill., driver of the disabled semi, and the wrecker operator, Joshua D. Sims, 30, Cloverdale, were standing at the roadside between their vehicles when the Freightliner's second trailer jackknifed, striking the semi from behind and pushing the semi forward into the wrecker.

Impact pinned Rexroad. The Hendricks County coroner pronounced him dead at the scene.

Sims, meanwhile, was able to jump from between the vehicles. The Cloverdale man suffered lower body injuries in the accident.

Maples, who was driving the tractor pulling the double trailers, was also injured, although his injuries were unspecified on police reports.

Sims and Maples were both taken to Wishard Hospital at Indianapolis.

The eastbound lanes of I-70 were closed between Cloverdale and State Road 39 for much of the day. The left eastbound lane was reopened to traffic just before 4 p.m. Tuesday, State Police said. Both lanes had reopened by 6:15 p.m.

Wood resurfacing material was strewn across the roadway in the accident, along with other various non-hazardous cargo being scattered at the scene of the crash, causing a clean-up issue.

Traffic was diverted from eastbound I-70 to U.S. 231, north to U.S. 40 most of the day.

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Praying for the family of Arnold and praying for a speedy recovery for Josh.

-- Posted by CTT149 on Wed, Feb 15, 2012, at 9:45 AM

How is Josh doing?

-- Posted by jcwilson81 on Wed, Feb 15, 2012, at 10:44 AM

I was about an hour ahead of this crash on my commute to work. I drove 45mph the first 40 miles of my trek because of the snow and ice on I-70 that morning. Literally hundreds of cars and semis passed me like I was standing still.

I feel bad for the men involved in this senseless accident. Thank goodness Josh was able to leap out of the way or he could have ended up like Mr. Rexroad.

I have to wonder why Mr. Maples didn't hear about the accident on his CB prior? There aren't many hills or hollers at that mile marker that would impede his vision.

-- Posted by Emmes on Wed, Feb 15, 2012, at 11:44 AM

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