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Police and family say a helmet likely saved the life of a Jackson County man thrown from his motorcycle on Interstate 65 on Wednesday morning.
Donald J. Klaes, 52, Seymour, was northbound on I-65 near the 57.5-mile marker north of the Jonesville exit when he had to stop suddenly because of traffic backed up from an earlier crash, Sgt. Brian Wilson of the Indiana State Police said.
Klaes lost control and was thrown from his 2006 Yamaha. He landed head-first on the roadway.
“His helmet had extensive damage but probably saved his life,” Wilson said.
Klaes was taken by ambulance to Columbus Regional Hospital for possible fractured ribs and other internal injuries, Wilson said.
He was treated in the emergency room and then transferred to another hospital, a Columbus Regional spokeswoman said.
Klaes was in stable condition Wednesday afternoon in the critical care unit of Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, his sister, Marian Klaes of Seymour, said.
“He has multiple fractures, but the injuries are not life-threatening,” she said.
“Fortunately, he was wearing his motorcycle gear; otherwise, he might not be here,” she added.
The semi collision that caused the blocked traffic occurred near the 59-mile marker.
That wreck was reported at 6 a.m. and involved two semis, Senior Trooper Stephen Wheeles said.
The wreck occurred when a 2007 Freightliner tractor-trailer rig driven by George Brewington, 53, of Lexington, Ky., was pulling back out onto northbound I-65 after being parked on the shoulder of the roadway. A northbound 2004 Volvo semi driven by Tony Robinson, 38, of Lawrenceburg, Ky., struck the rear of the Freightliner, causing extensive damage to both vehicles, Wheeles said.
Neither driver was injured in the crash, but northbound traffic was limited to one lane for several hours, causing a traffic backup of several miles into Jackson County.
Assisting Wheeles at the scene were several other troopers and the Indiana Department of Transportation.
The crash remains under investigation.
Both wrecks occurred in Bartholomew County.
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