Brought to you by WBIW News and Network Indiana
Last updated on Wednesday, July 17, 2013
(BLOOMINGTON) - The driver that caused the accident that closed Ind 37 and West Vernal Pike this week was cited for disregarding an automatic signal and driving too fast to avoid a collision and following too close in a tractor-trailer rig.
The collision of the tractor-trailer, a car and a sport utility vehicle caused the truck to overturn and spill 1,800 gallons of fuel it was hauling Sunday evening.
It left an Evansville mother and daughter who were in the car in critical condition, closed four lanes of the highway for several hours and required extensive cleanup of the fuel.
Lt. Steven Kellams says 48-year-old Tammy McGee, of Indianapolis, was driving a 2011 Peterbilt 382, traveling south on Ind. 37 and failed to stop at the traffic light at Vernal Pike, hitting a gray 2001 Toyota Camry that was stopped at the light.
McGee told police she was feeling ill and does not remember the accident. She was taken to IU Health Bloomington Hospital, where she was treated for minor injuries. McGee's blood was drawn for toxicology testing, which is a standard procedure after serious vehicle accidents. Kellams says McGee was not intoxicated at the time of the crash.
The driver of the Camry, Cynthia Ault, 45, was taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital. Her passenger, Josie Ault, 14, was taken to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.
A 2007 Cadillac Escalade, driven by Debra Keith, 57, of Spencer, was also struck in the accident. Keith was treated for minor injuries and was released from the hospital.
When police arrived at the scene of the crash at 9:20 p.m. Sunday, they found the tractor-trailer lying on its side, south of the intersection, and the Toyota with severe damage off the road on the east side.
Kellams says a tanker was brought in to pump fuel from the overturned tractor-trailer McGee had been driving. An estimated 1,800 gallons of gasoline spilled, according to Barry Sneed, a public information officer with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management who was on the scene cleaning up the spill. The trailer had a capacity to hold 8,700 gallons of gasoline.
Sneed says so far, 12 roll-off dumpster loads of contaminated soil that was removed with excavating equipment have been hauled away from the scene. Sneed estimated another 12 roll-offs worth of soil will need to be removed, and that 90 percent of the work will be completed by this morning.
Cleanup in the median is done and crews are working on the south side of Vernal Pike and on the east side of Ind. 37.
Sneed says samples of the soil will be taken to ensure all of the gasoline is removed. IDEM workers have also placed a boom -- a white, foam trap that skims petroleum off of water -- in a nearby tributary. That tributary remains clear of gas and petroleum products.
By Tuesday morning, all lanes of Ind. 37 near the West Vernal Pike intersection were open to traffic.
However, there were intermittent restrictions on the northbound side of the highway, limiting access to one lane near the Third Street exit, according to the Indiana State Police.
Both southbound lanes have been open since Monday night.
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