CHESTERTON — Traffic congestion that built up after a crash Wednesday on Ind. 49 may have contributed to a second crash in the same area, town officials now say.
In total, three drivers were injured in the two crashes.
First responders initially were dispatched about 4:30 p.m. to the intersection of Ind. 49 and County Road 100 East near the Duneland Schools bus barn, where two vehicles collided.
It was discovered that the driver of a Buick was trying to cross the southbound lanes onto westbound County Road 100 East when someone heading southbound in a Subaru crashed into Buick's the passenger side, a news release states.
The Buick got stuck in a ditch at the southwest corner of Ind. 49 and County Road 100 East, and the Subaru stopped in the southbound lanes of Ind. 49 while facing north.
A Lutheran Air helicopter was requested to rendezvous at Northwest Health — Porter after the driver reported feeling rib and hip pain, though it wasn't clear whether the driver was actually airlifted.
The Subaru's driver reported having pain in his neck and back and was transported by an ambulance to Northwest Health — Porter.
Firefighters cleared the scene about 5:03 p.m., but police remained on the scene for about three hours for traffic reconstruction.
During that time, a road closure forced police to divert traffic off at East 1100 North, causing slowdowns and traffic congestion, the release states.
Then, about 6:30 p.m., the driver of a pickup truck rear-ended a second pickup truck that was stopped in traffic in the southbound lanes of Ind. 49 between Indian Boundary Road and East Porter Avenue.
The impact forced both trucks underneath a semi's trailer.
Firefighters were then called back to the area and extricated the second pickup's driver. That person was transported to an area hospital.
Firefighters were assisted by Joe's Towing to clear debris in the area and cleared the scene about 7:05 p.m.