MERRILLVILLE — A Crest Hill, Illinois, man died in a fiery four-vehicle pileup crash late Thursday on southbound Interstate 65, Indiana State Police said.
The crash about 9:30 p.m. Thursday forced the closure of all southbound lanes. Several lanes remained closed during part of the Friday morning rush.
Thomas Shanahan, 38, of Crest Hill, was driving a 2018 International and box trailer owned by Dayton Freight south on I-65 just south of the U.S. 30 exit when he struck the back of the semitrailer in front of him, police said.
Carlos Salgado, 30, of Chicago, the driver of the second semi, a 2016 Freightliner owned by Old Dominion, was slowing for traffic ahead.
The impact caused the second semi to be pushed into a 2003 Ford F-250 pickup truck driven by a 42-year-old James Hemphill, of DeMotte, who was stopped for traffic. Salgado was pulling double trailers, and the rear trailer caught fire, police said.
The pickup was pushed into a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze driven by Randy Cramer, 55, of Northlake, Illinois, police said.
After hitting Salgado's semitrailer, Shanahan's trailer swerved off the road to the right and into a ditch. The trailer became separated from the tractor, which overturned.
Shanahan was entrapped and extricated by Merrillville firefighters. He was taken to Methodist Hospitals Southlake Campus, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
The fire involving the second semi was contained to the rear trailer, and Salgado was not injured.
Hemphill was taken to Franciscan Health Crown Point with non-life-threatening injuries, police said. Cramer was not hurt.
All lanes were re-opened just before 7:45 a.m., according to the Indiana Department of Transportation's TrafficWise website.