As of 12:50 p.m. today, Friday, Dec. 2, the westbound lanes of the Indiana Toll Road remained closed at the 6.5 mile marker, following a freak accident early this morning, in which a semi-tractor trailer jumped the center median wall while crossing a bridge over the Little Calumet River, the Indiana State Police is reporting.
The tractor itself plunged into the Little Calumet River below, while the trailer—empty at the time—became perfectly wedged in the space between the west- and eastbound bridges, the ISP said.
According to the ISP, the accident occurred at 2 a.m. approximately two miles east of Calumet Ave., when a 32-year-old Lansing, Ill., trucker struck the median wall, causing his UPS tractor to go over the wall and fall into the river. The trailer, though, separated from the tractor, remained perpendicular, suspended between the two bridges.
Both the tractor and trailer caught fire, the ISP said, and first-responders—fearing that the trucker was “in the river and possibly trapped in the cab”—immediately contacted the Hammond Fire Department’s Dive/Rescue Team.
The trucker, however, was “soon found clinging to a bridge support,” rescued, and transported to St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, the ISP said.
“The exact cause of the crash remains under investigation,” the ISP said.
For the next nearly 11 hours, all lanes of traffic, in both directions, were closed at that location on the Toll Road.
WAFFCO Towing & Recovering, assisted by Stevenson Crane, have since succeeded in removing the tractor from the river and the trailer from between the bridges.
As of 1 p.m. today, the eastbound lanes of the Toll Road had been re-opened to traffic but the westbound lanes remained closed. “When the westbound lanes re-open, traffic will be reduced to one lane at the crash scene for an extended timeframe,” the ISP said. “This is due to damage to the median wall, as well as for engineers to evaluate the damage to the bridge.”
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