A two-vehicle crash Thursday morning closed the southbound lanes of Interstate 65 in Bartholomew County.
Trooper Stephen Wheeles, spokesman for the Indiana State Police, says that at about 9:45 a.m., troopers responded to the scene of the crash at
the 57.5 mile marker. According to the initial investigation by Trooper Jason Duncan, a pickup truck pulling a box trailer, driven by Elmer Whilkens, 89, of South Dakota, was traveling south in the left lane when his truck left the roadway and entered the median. The vehicle then came back on the road and into the path of a semi pulling a box trailer, driven by Salah Toughzaqui, 42, of Kentucky. Authorities say that Toughzaqui’s vehicle was traveling in the right lane of southbound I-65.
Wheeles says that the investigation revealed that the front of the tractor trailer struck the passenger side of the pickup truck. The force of the collision caused Whilkens’ trailer to overturn in the middle of the southbound lanes, say investigators. They add that both vehicles came to a stop in the roadway.
State Police say that Whilkens sustained non-life threatening injuries and was transported to Columbus Regional Hospital for treatment.
Toughzaqui was checked out on the scene by medical personnel, then released.
Wheeles says that driver fatigue is believed to have been a contributing factor in the crash. The roadway was shut down for about ninety minutes for the crash investigation and cleanup. Authorities note that traffic remained congested for an additional hour due to vehicles that had become disabled in the roadway while stopped in the traffic backup.
Indiana State Police are thanking the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, Columbus Regional EMS, Jackson County EMS, Wayne Township Fire, and 31 Wrecker Service for their help in this incident.