Early Friday afternoon, a one-vehicle accident along I-74 West at mile marker 128 closed traffic down to one lane in both the east and southbound lanes for three hours.
“It was a mess,” Decatur County Sheriff Greg Allen told the Daily News in describing the scene.
The sheriff added that first responders described the accident debris field as looking like a “tornado went through the median.”
“It could’ve been a lot worse though,” he said.
Scott A. Collins, 39, of Erlanger, Ky., was hauling a trailer-hitched load of compressed wood mulch in the westbound lane of I-74 when the left-front tire of his 1996 Western Star semi-tractor suffered a blowout.
“The driver said he heard a loud popping sound,” Allen said. “According to skid marks at the scene, the vehicle veered hard left, directly into the median, at which point it rolled over the median one complete time and came to rest in the passing lane of eastbound traffic.”
Allen added that the vehicle’s trailer, a heavy-duty Conex shipping box, also rolled over, but stayed intact; as a result, none of the wood mulch was ejected onto the highway.
The truck itself, however, was a complete loss. Allen added that although the Conex box didn’t pop open, it was likely a total loss as well.
The Decatur County Sheriff’s Department (DCSD) received a 911 call regarding the accident at 12:52 p.m., Allen said.
Despite the fact that Collins’ vehicle veered onto the side of oncoming traffic, there were no other vehicles involved.
“It could’ve been very, very bad,” Allen said. “Everybody was fortunate.”
Even so, Collins was life-flighted from the scene to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, and likely faces a long rehab, according to Allen.
“He sustained injuries to his upper back and neck area,” the sheriff said.
In addition to the DCSD, the Indiana State Police Motor Carrier Division, the Decatur County EMS, the St. Paul Volunteer Fire Department and the Greensburg Fire Department also responded to the scene.
Contact: Rob Cox at 812-663-3111 x7011.