CROWN POINT | Two Lowell women are suing a Jasper County diary farm as the source of a smoky haze Aug. 18 that allegedly contributed to chain reaction collisions on Interstate 65 leaving one person dead and others injured.
Crown Point lawyer Walter Alvarez filed litigation Wednesday in Lake Superior Court on behalf of Nancy Gresham and her daughter, Judy Abernathy.
He alleges they were traveling southbound on I-65 when early morning fog and smoke from a nearby fire reduced visibility to less than 30 feet and vehicles began crashing into one another.
Indiana State Police identified 19 people from six states as either involved, injured or dead in separate crashes occurring between 7 and 7:18 a.m. in the northbound and southbound lanes between the 227 and 228 mile markers in the area of DeMotte.
The collisions began at 7 a.m. in the northbound lane about three miles south of the DeMotte exit when a semi pulling a box trailer rear-ended another semi pulling a box trailer.
The collision caused a chain reaction involving 16 motorists or passengers.
Traffic was stopped for much of the day while wreckage was cleared.
The suit alleges the smoke originated from a fire on the property of Bos Dairy LLC of Fair Oaks in Jasper County. A person who answered a telephone at Bos Dairy said Wednesday she knew nothing about the matter.
Alvarez said Gresham suffered a broken right hand, a broken left arm, cracked ribs and other injuries and Abernathy suffered several broken bones and permanent, crippling damage to her right foot.
Alvarez said he also is investigating whether other drivers on the highway contributed to the cause of the wrecks.