Two people were dead after a three vehicle accident that left part of Indiana 63 closed for several hours Friday.

Around 2 p.m. a semitrailer carrying a load of logs was traveling northbound on Indiana 63 right before Harlan Drive near New Harmony Cemetery when he failed to negotiate a curve after Farmer Drive and overturned in the southbound lane, according to Vigo County Coroner Dr. Roland Kohr.

As the semitrailer was overturning, a Ford pick-up truck was traveling southbound on Indiana 63 and hit the trailer and logs.

Both the driver and the passenger died instantly, Kohr said.

Kohr said the cause of death appeared to be blunt force trauma, but autopsies will be performed this weekend.

Firefighters used the jaws of life to retrieve the pair from the truck.

A second pick-up truck was traveling about 50 feet behind the first truck when the accident occurred. The driver, a male, was able to avoid the trailer, but still hit some logs.

He did not appear to have any serious injuries and went home a few hours after the accident.

The driver of the semi was taken to a Terre Haute hospital.

Traffic was re-routed at Harlan Drive on the south side of the accident and at Farmer Drive on the north side of the accident.

Officials expected the road to be closed through the night to allow time for an Indiana State Police reconstructionist to work and to clean up the two trucks, semitrailer and logs. However, the highway was reopened between 8:30 and 9 p.m., according to state police.

Karen Farmer lives at the curve the semitrailer driver failed to negotiate.

She said she heard the accident and went outside to see if she could help.

This is the third semitrailer accident since August 2006, she said.

Farmer pointed out the potholes in the road from scrap metal that fell off an overturned semitrailer this August. Farmer also pointed to equipment that is still set up near the New Harmony Cemetery – equipment that was used to clean up the gasoline spill from the August 2006 crash.

That spill caused residents to lose their well, she said.

“I think the governor needs to do something,” Farmer said.

In 2004, the Indiana Department of Transportation got involved to have an Indiana 63 curve about four miles south of Interstate 70 — known as Dead Man’s Curve — corrected and transformed into a T-intersection.

Residents along this stretch of Indiana 63 would like to see something similar done with the curve where Friday’s fatal crash occurred.

Ann Brooks has lived on 63 for 13 years and has seen semitrailer traffic triple in the time she’s been there, she said.

Brooks said people who live along the road have to be very careful when entering and exiting their driveways because they “are taking their lives into their hands” each time they do so.

Also, Brooks runs a childcare preschool from her home in which 41 families leave their children with her. She said that’s 41 more families at risk when they travel on that road.

With her house about 500 feet from the roadway, sometimes her windows rattle as the semitrailers race by, she said.

Because the road is a state road, she feels the state should take better care of it and the Indiana State Police should patrol it more.

“They fly through here,” Brooks said about semitrailers, “and why not? There’s nobody patrolling here.”

Members of the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department, Honey Creek Fire Department, Indiana State Police and Trans-Care Ambulance Service responded to the scene.

It was unclear what, if any, citations would be issued to the semitrailer driver, said Vigo County Sheriff Jon Marvel. Should any citations be issued, the information will be turned over the to the Vigo County prosecutor to determine what, if any, charges will be filed.

Names were not available by the Tribune-Star’s publication time Friday.

Crystal Garcia can be reached at (812) 231-4271 or crystal.garcia@tribstar.com.

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