Interstate 65 back open, traffic slow, drivers identified

7:21 p.m.

From the state police: The driver extricated from the semi tanker in the I-65 accident south of Columbus has been identified as Shawn B. Beeman, 36, North Vernon. He was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital and later transferred to Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis, where he is listed in stable condition, hospital officials said. Beeman’s semi struck the back of a truck driven by Patrick R. Russell, 54, Campbellsville, Kentucky, who was not injured, police said. Russell’s vehicle then struck a 2011 Cadillac driven by Kelli J. Buckley, 39, Trafalgar, and she was not injured, police said.

6:30 p.m.

From state police: I-65 southbound is now back open near 67.5 mile marker following earlier crash. Traffic may still be slow in the area.

COLUMBUS, Ind. — The southbound lane of Interstate 65, at the 68-mile marker, will be shut down for 90 minutes to two hours because of an accident at about 1 p.m. today, said Lt. Matt Harris, spokesman for the Columbus Police Department.

Indiana State Police and Columbus police were re-routing traffic off the interstate at U.S. 31 and at State Road 46, although backups were beginning to occur on those highways as a result of the interstate shutdown, Indiana State Police said.

State Road 11 southbound out of Columbus was also backed up with traffic trying to find a way around the accident, state police said.

Traffic that was being rerouted on State Road 11 to County Road 450S was experiencing further delays after a personal injury accident was reported in the traffic jam at 450S.

The I-65 closing happened after a property damage accident on the interstate in the southbound lanes at about the 66 mile marker, about two miles south of the State Road 46 exit — that accident was being handled by Columbus police, said Sgt. Stephen Wheeles, Indiana State Police spokesman.

When traffic backed up and stopped as a result of that accident, a semi pulling a tanker failed to stop and rear-ended another semi near the previous accident scene, blocking the interstate, Wheeles said. A car was sideswiped in the semi accident, Wheeles said.

The other semi was carrying life insurance bulk mail, which spilled across the interstate after the collision.

Indiana State Police are investigating that accident, in which one of the semi drivers was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital. The driver was conscious when extricated from the semi, Harris said.

Motorists are advised to avoid the area if possible.