Southbound traffic on Interstate 65 south of Columbus was stopped for more than two hours after a semi collided with a pickup truck pulling a box trailer.
Indiana State Police were sent to the interstate at about 9:45 a.m. Thursday when the vehicles collided and blocked both southbound lanes of I-65 about 10 miles south of the main Columbus exit, said Sgt. Stephen Wheeles, Indiana State Police spokesman.
Trooper Jason Duncan said Elmer Whilkens, 89, South Dakota, was driving in the left lane southbound on I-65 in a 2013 Dodge truck pulling a trailer near the 57.5-mile marker.
Whilkens’ vehicle left the roadway and entered the median, and then came back on the road into the path of a 2006 Freightliner semi driven by Salah Toughzaqui, 42, Kentucky, traveling southbound in the right lane of the interstate, Duncan said.
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The front of the semi struck the passenger side of the pickup, causing the trailer to overturn in the middle of the southbound lanes, Duncan said.
Whilkens had non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital, police said. His condition was not available Thursday afternoon. Toughzaqui was checked at the scene and released by medical personnel, police said.
Driver fatigue is believed to be a contributing factor in the accident, Wheeles said.
The wait for the accident to be cleared took about two hours, causing some motorists to turn off their engines and get out of their cars and trucks that lined both southbound lanes of the interstate, police said.
When the accident was cleared just after 11:30 a.m., more delays ensued after several vehicles became disabled on the interstate, failing to restart. Traffic stopped again as wreckers were sent to collect those vehicles, police said.
The traffic backup in the southbound lanes had reached the State Road 46 exit at Columbus at about 12:15 p.m. but was moving at highway speed by about 1 p.m.