Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

State News

March 13, 2014

One killed in traffic backup

Bartholomew County – Police say a man was killed when he crashed his car into the back of a semi trailer on I-65 Tuesday.

According to Trooper Seth Davidson, shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday night a 2012 Ford Fiesta driven by Michael L. Otte, 56, of Whiteland, was northbound on I-65 near the 74.5 mile marker when it struck the rear end of a 2010 Kenworth semi tractor-trailer rig driven by Michael Vogel, 53, of Rockford, Ill..

The semi was stopped in a traffic backup caused by another crash on I-65 near the 76 mile marker. Otte was pronounced dead at the scene and Vogel was uninjured.

Trooper Davidson believes speed was a factor in the crash. He also suspects Otte was possibly distracted since the approach to the backup was flat with a long sight of distance. In addition, the emergency flashers on the semi were activated and working at the time of the crash. The crash closed I-65 northbound for more than two hours.

This tragic crash was completely avoidable and is a shocking reminder of how important it is for motorists to do their best to avoid distraction. Approximately 20 percent of all vehicle crashes are secondary crashes or crashes that occur in a traffic backup as result of another traffic incident.

These secondary crashes account for approximately 18 percent of traffic fatalities.

The crash remains under investigation. Tpr. Davidson was assisted at the scene by other troopers, Columbus Police Department, Columbus, German Township, Columbus Township Fire Departments, and INDOT.

– Daily News

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