News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 13, 2013

UPDATE: Semi driver airlifted to hospital after crash

Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A Parke County man was airlifted to Methodist Hospital on Wednesday after he crashed his semi-trailer on U.S. 41 just north of the Lyford “Y” intersection at Indiana 163.

James “Dennis” Griffin, 66, of Mecca had to be extricated from the overturned semi he had been driving. He was still being treated in the Methodist emergency room around 6:30 p.m., according to a hospital spokesperson.

The accident, which happened around 11:45 a.m., closed U.S. 41 north of Indiana 163 for several hours.

According to Sgt. Jason Frazier of the Parke County Sheriff’s Department, Griffin was traveling north on U.S. 41 through the Lyford “Y” intersection when for unknown reasons, his semi crossed over into the southbound lane, ran off the side of the road, struck a utility pole and a tree.

The semi overturned, coming to rest on the driver’s side.

The semi left 200 feet of skid marks, and the utility pole rested on top of the overturned semi.

Griffin was pinned inside the vehicle for more than two hours, complaining of leg pain.

He was within eight miles of his home. “He should know the roads,” Frazier said. “We don’t know what the initial cause of the accident was or what else may have factored into it.”

Adams Township Rescue, the Lyford Fire Department and Clinton City Fire Department worked to extricate Griffin, although they had to wait until Duke Energy arrived to shut down power to the site.

“They couldn’t start until we were certain power lines were off,” Frazier said. He estimated Duke was on the scene within about 10 minutes of the initial call.

Also complicating the extrication, Griffin’s legs were pinned behind the engine, Frazier said. He drove a “cab-over” semi, in which a driver sits next to, or over, the engine.

Griffin was conscious during the rescue effort and he was loaded into an ambulance at 2:30 p.m. and taken to Union Hospital Clinton; he was then airlifted to Methodist. He complained of hip and leg pain.

Among those at the scene was Virgil Griffin, James’ brother. “Something happened. He’s a good driver,” he said.

The Parke County EMS, Indiana State Police, Otter Creek Fire Department Command Post/Rehab and the Indiana Department of Transportation also assisted.



Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.