The man killed in a chain reaction crash of two semi trucks and five other vehicles on Interstate 70 Saturday morning has been identified as Morgan N. Johnson, 20, of Reelsville.
Johnson's vehicle burst into flames as part of a chain-reaction crash that occurred in the westbound lanes just before 10 a.m., according to a news release from Indiana State Police. The crash occurred near the 11-mile marker, just west of Indiana 46.
A preliminary investigation by Trooper Brian Thomas, who was in the area helping to slow traffic from an earlier crash, indicated the crash occurred when a semi driven by Pierre St. Jean, 70, of Saint-Charles-Borromee, Quebec, was in the westbound passing lane.
St. Jean failed to recognize that traffic had slowed or stopped and struck a sport utility vehicle that was towing a recreational trailer, according to the release from State Police Sgt. Matt Ames.
The SUV was originally stopped in the passing lane but the impact from the tractor-trailer forced it into the driving lane. St. Jean's semi continued in the passing lane, striking Johnson's car. The force of the collision pushed the car into a stopped semi driven by Douglas K. Baumgartner, 61, of Melbourne, Florida.
Upon impact with the stopped semi's trailer, Johnson's car caught fire.
Another motorist, Leon Price Jr., 55, of Brighton, Illinois, saw the previous collisions in his mirror and drove into the median in an effort to also avoid being struck. But St. Jean's semi clipped Price's vehicle and forced it into the cable barrier in the median.
St. Jean still continued westbound, coming to a stop after striking Baumgartner's tractor-trailer. The force of that collision pushed the Baumgartner vehicle into another SUV, driven by Calvin A. Scott, 61, of Indianapolis, which led to the rear impact of a 2017 Nissan operated by Randie Danner-Montoya, 42, of Belen, New Mexico.
The crash remains under investigation and results will be submitted to the Vigo County Prosecutor's Office for review, the news release said.
It was one of two fatal fiery crashes that occurred Saturday on I 70 near Terre Haute. Police earlier reported that April Robinson, 45, Indianapolis, died when the semi in which she was riding in the sleeper compartment struck the rear of another tractor-trailer and caught fire near the 17 mile-marker.
The driver of the semi in that crash, Joe L. Robinson Jr., 49, of Indianapolis, reached down to pick up a dropped sandwich and failed to notice the traffic backup, State Police said.
Dave Taylor can be reached at 812-231-4299 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TribStarDave.