JASPER COUNTY | Seven people, including four children, were killed Thursday night in a fiery chain-reaction crash on northbound Interstate 65.
All seven were in a 2005 Jeep Cherokee, which was crushed between two semitrucks.
Killed were Merrillville residents Amando Mangual, 49, Lindsey Williams, 27, Yazmin Goldman, 5, and Arielle Goldman, 3, and Atlanta residents Yvette Williams, 35, Jamin Osbourne, 5, and Jasmin Osborne, 7.
Indiana State Police said the Jeep Cherokee, driven by Yvette Williams, was crushed between the two semis before bursting into flames.
Officers responded to the crash at 9:52 p.m. to northbound I-65 just south of Ind. 2.
Steven Crockett, 33, of Union, Ohio, was driving a 2012 Freightliner semi pulling a box trailer hauling water for an Ohio company near the 230 mile marker just south of Ind. 2 with the Jeep Cherokee following behind.
The Freightliner and Jeep stopped because of a traffic backup approaching a work zone, police said.
A 2007 Volvo semitractor, driven by Howard Stratton, 55, of Grand Rapids, Mich., and pulling a box trailer full of food for a Grand Rapids company, was traveling behind the Jeep and rear-ended it, pushing it into the back of the Freightliner's trailer.
The collision caused the Jeep to burst into flames, burning the cab and part of the trailer on the Volvo and part of the trailer on the Freightliner.
Firefighters extinguishing the flames saw at least two people dead in the Jeep, police said.
Because of the severity of the damage to the Jeep, investigators had it transported to Keener Township Fire Department so emergency personnel could make extrication. While disassembling the Jeep, emergency workers found five more bodies, in addition to the bodies observed at the crash scene. All seven killed were found inside the Jeep.
Stratton was transported to Franciscan St. Anthony Health hospital in Crown Point with complaints of pain. Crockett was not injured.
Police said the investigation into the crash is ongoing but preliminary reports indicate neither alcohol nor drugs were contributing factors. When the investigation is completed, information will be forwarded to the Jasper County prosecutor's office for review.
The crash closed northbound I-65 at Ind. 2 until 6:30 a.m. Drivers were diverted off the interstate at Ind. 10 and traffic backed up at least five miles, police dispatchers said.