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Crash closes southbound I-65 early Friday; Hobart man, 22, charged

A semitrailer sits off Intersate 65 early Friday Feb. 1 2013. | IndianState Police photo

A semitrailer sits off of Intersate 65 early Friday, Feb. 1, 2013. | Indiana State Police photo

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Updated: March 3, 2013 6:08AM



An early morning crash Friday caused a traffic cluster for more than four hours on Interstate 65 in Merrillville while Indiana State Police troopers and emergency personnel tried to piece together what happened.

At approximately 1 a.m., Franklin Sul, 22, of Hobart, was southbound on I-65 about a mile north of 61st Avenue when he came up behind a 2002 GMC Envoy and rear-ended it, according to a press release. The Envoy, driven by Patricia Castle, 36, of Crown Point, sustained minor damage and she was not injured.

After hitting the Envoy, Sul lost control of his 2001 Infiniti, hit the guardrail on the outer shoulder, came back onto I-65 facing east in right/middle southbound lanes. A 2002 Honda was able to stop as it approached Sul and pulled in front of him, stopping in the right lane where the driver got out to check on Sul.

A 2012 International semitrailer pulling a box trailer, driven by Frank A. Kantner, 81, of Racine, Wis., was in the right lane when he saw the Infiniti and tried to go around the car to the left. The truck began to jackknife and struck the Infiniti, then hit the Honda and went off the road partially into the ditch. The trailer got hung up on the guardrail on the outer shoulder. The semi, owned by Expedited Freight System, of Kenosha, Wis., was loaded with 23,000 pounds of general freight. The semi was a total loss. Kantner was not injured.

The Honda’s four occupants were taken to St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart where they were treated and released.

Sul was also taken to the Hobart hospital, where he was treated and released for lacerations to his face. He was then taken to Lake County Jail where he was charged with felony operating while intoxicated and driving with a suspended license. Police said he had a 0.24 percent blood alcohol level.

Sul was also wanted in Hobart for misdemeanor battery.

All southbound lanes were closed with traffic getting by on the inner shoulder until approximately 3:57 a.m., when all lanes were closed for removal of the semi. All lanes were reopened at 5:17 a.m.



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