AUBURN, IN - An extension ladder is to blame for a Monday morning crash involving a large truck that shut down a stretch of I 69.
According to the Indiana State Police, Troopers responded at around 9:30 AM to a reported rollover crash blocking northbound traffic on I-69 near the 326 mile marker, just north of the County Road 11A exit, in DeKalb County.
Upon arrival officers found a single dump style truck on it's side blocking northbound traffic, with what appeared to gravel strewn all across the roadway. The driver and passenger were trapped inside the overturned wreckage, but appeared to be uninjured.
A preliminary investigation revealed the dump truck, operated by Jacob Bluhm, age 29 of Fort Wayne, was traveling northbound on I-69 in the right lane. An 8ft extension ladder was laying in the roadway ahead of Bluhm's vehicle.
Bluhm attempted evasive action to avoid hitting the ladder, but his truck's right front tire struck the ladder and lifted the right side of the truck off the ground. The load of limestone in the dump bed shifted, which contributed to the force and momentum which overturned the truck onto it's passenger side.
Both Bluhm and his passenger, Christopher Lewis, age 25 from LaGrange, were eventually assisted out of the wreckage by first responders and found to be uninjured.
The crash had the northbound lanes of I-69 closed for nearly two hours while crews worked to remove the vehicle and debris from the interstate.
Traffic flow was restored at approximately 11:30 AM.
Indiana State Police say this crash is a prime example of the need for motorists to always ensure that items (such as extension ladders), whether on roof top racks or in cargo beds, are always properly secured during transport.
Investigators with the ISP say the Monday morning crash was a preventable. They say, “had that extension ladder been transported securely, the accident would not have happened, and unnecessarily resulted in thousands of dollars in property damage, delayed commerce.”
The Indians State Police was assisted at scene by the Dekalb County Sheriff's Department, Garrett Police Department, Dekalb County EMS, Auburn Fire Department, and Parker's Wrecker Service.