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Morning snow slows traffic; Westville man airlifted after crash

Traffic crawls both directions after morning snow Borman Expressway Gary Ind. Thursday January 24 2013.  Traffic all Northwest Indianhighways

Traffic crawls in both directions after morning snow on the Borman Expressway in Gary, Ind. Thursday January 24, 2013. Traffic on all Northwest Indiana highways was affected by the snow. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 26, 2013 6:28AM



Snowy road conditions contributed to numerous slideoffs and crashes on Thursday, including a serious crash on Interstate 94 near the Burns Harbor exit.

More snow is predicted to fall by Friday morning, meaning the morning commute could be a headache.

A Westville man was airlifted to a South Bend hospital after crashing into a semitrailer on Interstate 94 in Porter County. Luke J. McCormick, 19, of Westville, was westbound on I-94 just west of Burns Harbor exit in the left lane when he lost control of his silver 2001 Pontiac Sunfire, police said. McCormick spun out into the middle lane in front of a 2011 International semitrailer driven by Robert J. Himmerstein, 56, of Lansing, Mich.

Indiana State Police said McCormick was “going too fast for existing snow-covered road conditions,” which was a contributing factor in many of the crashes and slide-offs.

The tractor-trailer, owned by JB Hunt of Oklahoma City, hit the passenger side of the Sunfire; causing the truck to jackknife with the Pontiac still attached to its front end. Both vehicles went off the roadway, through a fence, down a ditch and almost came out onto an access road at the bottom, police said.

McCormick was taken to Porter Regional Hospital in Valparaiso where he was later airlifted to South Bend Memorial Hospital with life-threatening head injuries. Himmerstein was not injured.

More snow is forecast to fall starting Friday morning after midnight. The fast-moving system is expected to roll in from the west and into Northwest Indiana by mid-morning.

The National Weather Service said snow accumulations could range from 1 to 3 inches. The cold air makes it likely snow will accumulate on roads, causing some slippery road conditions.

Indiana State Police responded to multiple calls for slide-offs and crashes due to blowing snow and icy conditions on Thursday. Police blamed snow squalls for the difficulties. As the roadways were being cleared of snow and crashes in one area the snow shifted to a new area, police said. The majority of the crashes were in northern Lake County on the Borman Expressway from the state line to Interstate 65.

Motorist can get up-to-date road and weather conditions at (800) 261-7623 or from INDOT’s website at TrafficWise.IN.gov.



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