A 10-year-old Gary girl was critically injured in a three-car crash on Interstate 80/94 early Thursday morning that shut down all westbound lanes for over an hour.
According to police, Tashanda L. Willis, 27, of Gary was driving her 1998 Chevrolet Lumina westbound just west of Calumet Avenue when she went off the roadway and twice hit a concrete median barrier wall off the inner shoulder. The Lumina then went back into the roadway, crossing two lanes of traffic and hitting a semi-tractor trailer.
Willis' vehicle became wedged under the trailer and was dragged for 226 feet before it came free. The semi tried to avoid hitting the Lumina and in the process, veered to the right and hit another semi.
Willis' daughter - Zayniah Reese, 10, of Gary - had to be cut from the vehicle and all lanes of traffic were shut down as she was airlifted to the University of Chicago Hospital in Chicago with internal injuries and a broken femur.
Chris James, spokesman for the University of Chicago Hospitals, said information on the girl's condition was not able to be released late Thursday morning.
Willis was taken to The Community Hospital in Munster with minor head and knee injuries. Details on her condition were not available from a hospital spokeswoman late Thursday morning.
State Police said Willis was cited for driving while suspended and unsafe movement from lane to lane. Her vehicle was totaled.
The driver of the semi - Jeffrey A. Blum, 54, of Centreville, Mich. - was not injured in the accident. His semi sustained $40,000 in damages.
William J. Carter, 32, of Cincinnati, the driver of the second semi, was not injured in the accident. His semi had about $3,000 in damages.
All lanes were reopened just before noon.
The lane closures caused major traffic backups throughout the morning on the Borman and on feeder streets.