LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Interstate 65 reopened in both directions more than six hours after a crash that killed two people Tuesday. Indiana State Police said several trucks and a car were involved in the chain reaction crash. They believe it started with one driver who may have been distracted.
The two victims involved in the fatal crash have been identified as 49-year-old Marvin L. Rea and 34-year-old Kelli Nicole Bradley both of Gary. Rea was driving a Cadillac that was crushed between a semi and a box truck, Bradley was a passenger in the car. Families have been notified.
The crash involved three semis, a box truck and a car on I-65 near the State Road 26 exit in Lafayette.
"We just don't know exactly what the cause of the crash was," said Indiana State Police Sgt. Kim Riley.
Police said an earlier crash near the 169 exit caused traffic to back up pretty heavily.
Thirty-six-year-old Al-Rabba of Michigan had stopped the Freightliner he was driving due to the crash.
A semi pulling a flatbed driven by 54-year-old Karl E. Klinge of Sherman, Illinois and Rea’s Cadillac were stopped behind Al-Rabba.
A box truck driven by 62-year-old Joseph Gais of Missouri was slowing down as he approached the stopped vehicles from behind.
Another Freightliner pulling a car hauler and driven by 31-year-old Anthony J. Dick of Plainfield did not see the stopped traffic ahead of him.
"He failed to negotiate the stop," said Riley. "He ran into the back of the box car, which then shoved the car in front of him into the back end of this semi and it was just, basically, a chain reaction."
The impact then pushed the Cadillac underneath the semi, killing both of the people in the car. The car was pinned underneath for hours, making it tough for police to remove the bodies.
"The way things worked, as far as the crash itself, was it was just going to be hard to get them out of there," said Riley.
Gais and Dick were taken to the hospital complaining of pain. Neither Al-Rabba nor Klinge suffered injuries in the crash.
Police are still investigating what caused Dick, the driver of the car-hauler, to become distracted. Riley said drivers should learn from this.
"Especially here in the construction zone where there is always going to be a chance of the traffic coming to a stop or slowed," said Riley. "You have to keep your distance."
He said drivers should keep at least 300 feet from bumper to bumper.
"Three hundred feet seems like an awful lot of distance to be behind somebody," said Riley. "But when you have a mess like this, that 300 feet could have made a big difference in the cushion of how these vehicles got stopped."
All drivers involved were subject to a blood test in accordance with state law.
The investigation is ongoing.