Trucker with life-threatening injuries after I-69 crash

GRANT COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — The northbound lanes of Interstate 69 in northern Grant County were closed for five hours Thursday after a one semi rear-ended another in a crash that left an Oklahoma man with life-threatening injuries.

A crash on I-69 near Marion involving a semi. (Photo submitted by: Kaelah Snyder)

Police and medics were called around 5:20 p.m. Thursday to the 271 milemarker of the interstate, about seven miles north of the exit for Marion and State Road 18, on a report of a semi crash there. Crews arrived to find a semi had rear-ended another semi in the northbound lanes of the highway.

According to an Indiana State Police investigation, 62-year-old Basile Popescu of Saline, Michigan, was driving a 2013 Volvo semi tractor-trailer northbound, followed by a 2014 Freightliner semi tractor-trailer driven by 36-year-old Jason Welch of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Popescu slowed his rig as he approached a work zone, but investigators said Welch’s Freightliner never slowed behind him and it rear-ended the Volvo.

Welch was airlifted from the scene to a Fort Wayne hospital with life-threatening injuries, police said. Popescu was not injured.

The investigation is ongoing, but police said they do not believe the use of alcohol nor narcotics contributed to the crash.

Police closed the northbound lanes of the interstate for some five hours to investigate and clean the wreckage. All lanes were back open around 9:30 p.m.