Photo courtesy of Indiana State Police.
Updated: March 6, 2012 8:22AM
Separate crashes on the Indiana Toll Road in Northwest Indiana early Saturday left two people dead, according to the Indiana State Police.
Julio Zatina, 50, of Bridgeview, Ill., was killed when his semitrailer hit a horse trailer that broke free from an SUV.
The second wreck killed Pierre Louise DeVaugh Smith, 26, of Hammond when his van slid on the icy roadway and was hit by the truck.
Horse trailer comes loose
Indiana State Police said the first crash happened about 12:23 a.m. just east of Indiana 49 and the Chesterton exit. A 2003 Chevrolet Suburban pulling an empty 12-foot Shadow horse trailer was traveling west on the Toll Road when the trailer came loose.
The trailer went through the median and crossed into eastbound lanes, police said.
The tractor-trailer, pulling double trailers, hit it, the release said. A piece of the loose trailer reportedly broke off and flew through the truck’s windshield, striking Zatina and causing him to lose control of the UPS vehicle.
The truck crossed into the westbound lanes and crashed into a ditch north of the road, police said. Zatina suffered blunt force trauma and was pronounced dead at the scene from his injuries. The driver of the Suburban, Rick A. Bullis, 42 of Wood Dale, Ill., was not injured.
Eastbound lanes and the right westbound lane were closed for about 30 minutes after the crash, police said. It wasn’t clear whether the Suburban’s driver would be charged or cited.
Van loses control, hit by truck
The second crash occurred about 4:30 a.m. near Portage about 1 mile west of the Portage Toll Plaza when Smith, the driver of a westbound 1999 GMC Savannah van, lost control on the snowy and icy roads, according to the Indiana State Police.
The van, traveling in the right lane, spun out into the left lane where a 2007 Freightliner semi pulling a flatbed trailer hit the van broadside in the driver’s door. The Freightliner, owned by Burnham Trucking Co. in East Chicago, was not loaded. The driver, Michael A. Mosher, 57, of Portage, was taken to Porter hospital in Portage. He was treated and released after complaining of pain in his neck. Mosher was cited for a log book violation, state police said.
Smith was pronounced dead at the scene, of blunt force trauma, by the Porter County coroner.