CLOVERDALE -- Three separate accidents in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 occurred within approximately five hours of each other Thursday morning. However, only one involved any significant injury, Indiana State Police at Putnamville reported.
"It is important to note that all three crashes were (caused by) driver error and not caused by the construction zone," stressed ISP Public Information Officer Sgt. Joe Watts.
Two of those accidents again occurred in Putnam County, both in the Cloverdale vicinity.
At 5:50 a.m. Thursday, ISP troopers and emergency units from Putnam and Morgan counties responded to a tractor-trailer rollover accident at the 49-mile marker. The one-vehicle crash occurred near the utnam-Morgan county line, seven miles east of Cloverdale.
Preliminary investigation revealed that while eastbound in the construction zone, the tractor-trailer drifted off the north side of the roadway, ultimately losing control and rolling over onto the driver's side in the middle of the interstate.
As a result, both eastbound lanes of I-70 were closed, Sgt. Watts reported.
The 2002 Freightliner tractor, driven by Miguel A. Fermin, 37, The Bronx, N.Y., was pulling a box trailer loaded with dry goods under the name of Cotui Transportation LLC of Clifton, N.J.
Fermin sustained only minor abrasions.
His co-driver, Luis Torez, 45, address unknown, was transported to Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis, for treatment of chest pain.
Master Trooper Matt Ames investigated the semi accident with assistant from other ISP units, Putnam and Morgan sheriff's offices, Cloverdale Fire/Rescue, A & A Township Ambulance (Morgan County), Indiana Department of Transportation and Curtis Wrecker Service.
The eastbound lanes were closed for about 90 minutes with lane restrictions and traffic slow-down necessary for an additional 90 minutes.
Less than five hours later, ISP officers and Putnam County emergency agencies responded to a motorcycle accident near the 42-mile marker, again on eastbound I-70
ISP Senior Trooper Joe Rutledge reported that John F. Ratcliff, 59, Newark, Ohio, was operating a 2011 Harley-Davidson when he suddenly veered into the median for no apparent reason and crashed.
Ratcliff, who was not wearing a helmet, was transported by Operation Life ambulance to Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis, for treatment of head and internal injuries.
"His injuries are believed to be significant, but not life-threatening," Sgt. Watts said.
Also assisting at the motorcycle crash scene were other ISP troopers, Putnam County Sheriff's deputies and Cloverdale Fire/Rescue.
A third I-70 accident in the Putnamville District occurred at 10 a.m. Thursday near the 18-mile marker in Vigo County.
ISP Trooper Ted Robertson said a 2012 Ford Focus, driven by Bradley D. Smith, 42, Terre Haute, was eastbound in the construction zone behind an unidentified tractor-trailer.
As traffic began to slow, Smith's car was struck in the rear by a 2010 Freightliner semi, driven by John C. Carson, 65, Brantford, Ontario. Carson was driving for Celadon Canada Inc.
The collision forced the Ford Focus into the rear of an unidentified tractor-trailer, which continued eastbound and was never located.
No injuries were reported but Carson was issued a citation for following too closely.