Chesterton Tribune



Three badly injured in storm related crash at US 6

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Three persons were seriously injured during Monday evening’s storm, when the passenger car in which they were riding was caught beneath a semi’s trailer and dragged more than 300 feet, in a crash at the intersection of U.S. Highway 6 and North Calumet Ave., the Liberty Township Volunteer Fire Department said.

At the time a power outage had left the intersection without a functioning traffic signal.

The injuries were the only storm-related casualties reported to the Chesterton Tribune this morning.

As of deadline, the names of the three were not available but the Porter County Sheriff’s Police identified them as Northwest Indiana residents: the driver, a middle-aged male; a teenaged male; and a teenaged female. No information on their conditions was available, however.

LTVFD Deputy Chief Tom Shapen gave this account of the accident, based on evidence at the scene: at 9:30 p.m. a passenger car was northbound on North Calumet Ave., entered the intersection at high speed, and broadsided the flatbed trailer of a semi westbound on U.S. 6. The semi’s momentum dragged the car--its front two-thirds wedged beneath the trailer--350 feet from the point of impact before coming to rest.

All three passengers of the car were trapped inside and had to be extricated.

“It was a very difficult and challenging extrication” given the “catastrophic damage” to the car, and the Chesterton Fire Department, assisting at the scene, “gave us a lot of help,” Shapen said. Also instrumental was Joe’s Towing Inc. of Chesterton, which provided one heavy wrecker to lift the trailer off the car and then a second to pull out the car. “That was crucial to the evolution of the extrication.”

The backseat passenger was removed first, then the driver, and finally the frontseat passenger, the female. Each in turn was airlifted to an unknown hospital by helicopter.

Two of the choppers staged at The Courts, in landing zones prepared by the South Haven Fire Department, Shapen said. The third chopper staged at Porter Regional Hospital.

“The injuries to all three were severe,” Shapen said. “Extremely traumatic and life-threatening.”

At the time of the crash, the storm had knocked out power to the area. “There were no lights,” Shapen noted. “It was very dark. And the stop lights were out.”

The LTVFD remained busy for the rest of the night, Shapen added, responding to reports of downed wires, fire alarms, and medical calls. There were no fires, however.

Two of the weather-related calls the SHFD responded to, while the LTVFD was still at the scene of the crash.


Posted 6/25/2013