FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The driver of a semi-trailer is in critical condition after a crash on I-69 early Tuesday morning.
A passing motorist called 911 at 12:19 a.m. and reported that a semi had crashed into a sound barrier on I-69 near mile marker 309 (Goshen Road), according to Fort Wayne police spokesperson Officer Chris Felton.
One of the first arriving police officers told NewsChannel 15 the driver was pinned in the cabin from the waist down. The driver was breathing and talking with the officer.
Firefighters immediately assessed the wreckage and worked with two wrecker trucks to secure the trailer and cabin before extricating the driver.
Fire crews put out a small fire underneath the truck, according to fire officials.
Firefighters needed 2 ½ hours to safely remove the driver from the cabin.
At one point, firefighters unloaded dozens of boxes of cabbage from the front of the trailer which split open during the crash. Crews were concerned about the trailer tipping over. Several pieces of equipment and chains tied to the wrecker trucks were used to stabilize the truck.
Crews cut away parts of the cab and removed it with the wrecker truck acting as a crane.
Firefighters even removed a 65 m.p.h speed limit sign to make room for a second heavy-duty wrecker.
Members of the fire department's Special Operations Response Team (S.O.R.T.) also responded to the crash. S.O.R.T. is used for confined space and high-and-low angle rescues, among other scenarios.
Just before 3 a.m., crews got the driver out of the cabin. Several emergency personnel on scene told NewsChannel 15’s Rod Hissong the driver had one leg amputated before he was taken to the hospital.
Fire officials later said in a statement that a TRAA paramedic performed the amputation. The medic was guided by a trauma physician from Lutheran Hospital during the procedure.
The driver’s name has not been released.
Felton said the investigators are trying to determine what happened.
“It’s too early to tell if it was speed, or if alcohol played a factor in the crash,” Felton told NewsChannel 15. “He [the driver] rode the guardrail before completely leaving the road and crashing into the sound barrier.”
Pieces of the concrete sound barrier crumbled to the ground near the truck and dozens of boxes of cabbage spilled out from the front of the trailer into the ditch.
The truck had license plates from Ontario, Canada, but the truck had no official markings or company logos.
The boxes of cabbage were labeled “Fresh Yu An Nappa.”
The cabin was severely damaged and it appeared one of the support beams from the sound barrier spliced part of the cabin on the driver’s side. Officials have not said where the driver was pinned in the cabin or if he was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.
Police directed traffic to the left shoulder of southbound I-69 for hours on Tuesday morning.
Members of the Fatal Alcohol Crash Team (F.A.C.T.) were on site to assess the damage and investigate the crash.
A man is in critical condition after a stabbing early Sunday morning in Bluebird Court, off of St. Joe Road.
The 122nd Fighter Wing hosted the annual Airman of the Year Awards on Saturday afternoon to celebrate the achievements of members of the 122nd.
Saturday marked the 72nd anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. Fort Wayne area veterans and their families met for a service at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum to remember those who lost their lives back on December 7, 1941.
A doctor who performs abortions in Fort Wayne, Gary and South Bend has been asked to appear before the Indiana Medical Licensing Board.
Each year, students at Taylor University attend a men's basketball game and are completely silent until the Trojans score their 10th point of the game. The game is known as "Silent Night."
Governor Mike Pence is directing flags at Indiana state facilities be flown at half-staff on Saturday, Dec. 7 in honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
A national campaign wants the NFL's Washington Redskins to change its name to not be offensive to Native Americans, and it could effect teams across the country.
The Lilly Endowment Inc. has given more than $62 million to 39 Indiana colleges and universities to increase employment opportunities for college graduates. receive
A two-car crash tied up traffic for a short time on Illinois Road at the entrance to Jefferson Pointe.
It's been a year since FBI agents and police raided several homes in Fort Wayne. The center of the investigation was Michael Fabini's home.
Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are not toxic to humans or pets. Some mild side effects are possible if they are eaten.
A Fort Wayne man had the opportunity to have lunch with Nelson Mandela 20 years ago. He says the experience is something he has carried with him throughout the years.
The suspects face bank robbing charges, as well as charges of assaulting and putting in jeopardy the lives of others.
The yellow brick building that served for decades as the club house for the Elks Lodge 155 golf course in Fort Wayne is being demolished.
Buffalo Wild Wings donated $6,500 to the Boys & Girls Club's Fairfield location on Friday afternoon. The money will be used for youth sports tournaments.