An Ohio man was killed and three vehicles he was hauling were catapulted off a trailer Tuesday when he rear-ended a semi on Interstate 65 south of the Rensselaer exit, police said.
All northbound lanes of the interstate through Jasper County were closed after the crash that killed Zaza Eristavi, 41, of Fairfield, Ohio, Indiana State Police said.
A light dusting of snow fell on the region early Tuesday, creating slick roads and multiple crashes.
At 6:20 a.m., Eristavi was driving a 2008 Dodge pickup north on I-65 when he failed to slow down for traffic stopped for a crash ahead, police said.
Eristavi was pulling a 50-foot trailer loaded with three vehicles, which were launched into the air when he hit the back of an empty trailer being pulled by a 2003 Kenworth semi. The Kenworth was pushed into a rail container being pulled by a 2007 Volvo semi.
The impact of the crash caused the straps securing the vehicles to Eristavi's trailer to break free, police said. One of the vehicles landed on the Kenworth's cab and trailer. The second vehicle landed on its roof in the grass to the right of the Kenworth, and the third vehicle landed in the left lane beside the Kenworth, police said.
Eristavi was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The semi drivers — both of whom were from out of state — were not injured.
Indiana State Police reopened the northbound lanes about 11:15 a.m.
State police responded to a host of other crashes early Tuesday on Interstate 65 and the Borman Expressway. Cpl. Dan Becker said the expressways were particularly hazardous in Jasper and LaPorte counties.
Indiana State Police for the Toll Road said multiple crashes occurred in the stretch of road from the Illinois state line to the 7-mile marker before 6:30 a.m. A semi rollover later in the day also clogged traffic along the Toll Road in Porter County.
No serious injuries were reported in the other crashes.
Other local departments reported scattered, minor slide-off and spin-out crashes.
The Indiana Department of Transportation said crews were out pretreating roads with deicing agents Monday. Plows and salt trucks were patrolling the roads before the snow began, INDOT officials said.
A chance of more snow was forecast for Thursday morning, with snow expected to give way to rain by sunrise.