(PORTAGE CO.) – One person is dead after crashing into a semi causing their car to catch on fire when they were unable to escape.
Preliminary investigation by Trooper Justin Hansen revealed at approximately 9:45 p.m., Tuesday, evening, a passenger vehicle was westbound on I-80/94 at the 18-mile marker (this is one mile west of the Portage exit), at a high rate of speed, when for unknown reasons hit the rear of a semi.
The semi, a 2016 Freightliner owned by General Logistics Incorporated out of Davenport, Iowa, pulling a flatbed trailer loaded with steel, and driven by Michael DeJohn, 48 of Wyoming, Michigan was in the center lane when he felt something hit from behind. The driver pulled the semi off the roadway onto the shoulder near Ripley Avenue and called the police.
The passenger vehicle after hitting the rear of the semi was disabled from heavy front end damage partially blocking the center and left lanes. The vehicle immediately caught fire and the driver could not escape. Other motorist tried to get into the vehicle but were not successful in getting the doors opened. Trooper Hansen upon arrival used his fire extinguisher to no avail.
The driver of the vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene. The name is being withheld pending identification of the driver and notification of the family.
All westbound traffic on I-80/94 at this location is being diverted off at the Portage exit (19-mile marker). This is necessary for extinguishing the fire, removal of the vehicle and deceased, reconstruction of the crash, and clean-up of the roadway.
Assisting: Porter County Coroner’s Office, Porter County Prosecutor’s office, Portage Fire and EMS, ISP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division Trooper Nedal Nabhan, Reconstructionists Master Trooper Lawrence McFarrin and Trooper Paul Arnold, Troopers Kenneth Payonk, Tim Borsa, Corey Adam, and Regen Smith, IN Department of Transportation and Waffco Towing