Fiery semi crash closes I-65 early Tuesday
Post-Tribune staff report December 31, 2013 12:46PM
Updated: February 3, 2014 3:24PM
An early Tuesday morning crash injured four people, caused a semi to catch fire, and closed down all northbound Interstate 65 lanes near Ridge Road for several hours.
Indiana State Police said the crash occurred about 3:23 a.m. when Greenfield resident William Stephenson, 64, stopped his box trailer in the right lane because of a crash up ahead just after Ridge Road.
A second semi, which was driven by 24-year-old Jeansly Olcima of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was also slowing down in the right lane when it was hit in the rear by a third semi and pushed into Stephenson’s trailer. Regina Tardif, 38 of Jay, Maine, failed to see the traffic slowing and stopping ahead and hit Olcima’s trailer.
Emergency personnel had to extricate Tardif from her semi. Tardif and her Co-driver, Glenn Engler, 42 of Weston, Mich., (who was in the trailer’s sleeper) were taken to St. Mary Medical Center with non-lifethreating injuries. Olcima and co-driver Pierre Calvaire, 44, of Miami (also inside a sleeper) were taken to St. Mary Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.
Stephenson was not injured.
Once Tardif was removed from her semi, it caught fire and ignited the 26,000 pounds of clothes bound for Nordstrom inside Olcima’s trailer. Tardif’s trailer was carrying produce.
Gary, Hobart and Lake Station fire departments helped extinguish the fire. All northbound lanes on I-65 were closed between 61st Avenue and Ridge Road until 7:30 a.m. when the two left lanes were opened. The remaining lanes reopened at 10:15 a.m.
Tardif’s semi caught fire again when it was being towed away on I-65 just south of U.S. 30. Merrillville Fire Department responded and the two right lanes were closed for 20 minutes to extinguish the fire.