DEKALB COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — The three people who died following a multi-vehicle crash that shut down northbound traffic on I-69 in northern DeKalb County for five hours Wednesday afternoon have been identified.
The crash happened around 3:20 p.m. at the 332 milemarker, three miles north of the Auburn exit and just south of the U.S. 6 interchange. Two semi trailers and five vehicles were involved in the crash.
As a result of the crash, William Charles Heil, 65, of Angola, IN who was driving a 2020 Mazda passenger car and was pronounced dead at the scene by the DeKalb County Coroner.
James Crager, 70, of Angola, was driving a 2007 Kenworth semi-tractor registered to Keep On Trucking, LLC was pulling hay bales, traveling at a high rate of speed and failed to slow down for traffic that was slowed in the construction area near mile marker 334.
The first vehicle the semi crashed into was the GMC Acadia SUV that two of the passengers who died were in. All five occupants of that vehicle were either flown or transported by ambulance to an area hospital. The passengers who died at the hospital were Dale Eugene Lowe, 81, and his wife, Jean Elsie Lowe, 72, of Charlotte, MI.
The other three people in the GMC Acadia suffered minor injuries.
All respective families have been notified of Wednesday’s fatalities.
The second vehicle the semi crashed into was a Ford Escape. ISP reports that the vehicle was pushed into the right shoulder during the crash.
The third vehicle that was struck got caught up under the semi and hit another semi in front of it, state police said.
Two other drivers were able to swerve off the road to avoid a direct hit, however, ISP reports that both drivers sustained minor damages to the vehicles with no injuries.
“Crash investigations of this nature involve extensive investigation and often take a great deal of time to secure all the evidence and facts surrounding the causal factors and circumstances,” the release said.
Once the crash reconstruction investigators have concluded their work, a full report will be turned over to the DeKalb County Prosecutors Office for review and determination of any criminal charges that may result.
Indiana State Police were assisted at the scene by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Division, the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department, Auburn Fire Department, Waterloo Fire Department, EMS personnel from Parkview DeKalb and Steuben County, the DeKalb County Coroner’s Officer and Bill’s Towing Service.
Indiana State Police say that the investigation of this crash is ongoing.