News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

March 14, 2013

Man dies after semitrailer strikes fallen tree on I-70

Accident occurs just east of Brazil exit

BRAZIL, Ind. — An unidentified man is dead after his semitrailer struck a large tree that had fallen across Interstate 70 Thursday night near the Brazil exit in Clay County.

Sgt. Joe Watts of the Indiana State Police said the driver likely came upon the tree with little warning as it had fallen across the interstate in a dark area about a mile east of the Brazil exit.

“He wouldn’t have been able to see it until the last minute,” Watts said.

The westbound lanes of I-70 were expected to be closed until sometime in the early hours of Friday morning, Watts said. The crash took place at 8:30 p.m.

Two other semitrailers that were following the first also struck the tree but their drivers were not injured.

Damage to the first semitrailer was extensive. Police were not even able to read the license plate as of about 10 p.m. and the deceased driver remained in the badly damaged cab. The truck left the roadway after the impact.

“This is a heavily wooded area,” Watts said from the scene late Thursday night. The tree was a distance from the highway, but was tall enough to reach the roadway when it fell, perhaps because of soft ground, he said.

Snow was falling in the area Thursday evening.

The semitrailer was westbound on I-70 when the crash occurred, Watts said. The tree was about three feet in diameter. The driver of the semitrailer was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Tribune-Star will continue to provide information about this incident as it becomes available.

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