VIGO CO. – On Thursday morning, troopers from the Indiana State Police Putnamville Post are investigating a crash between a semi tractor-trailer and a Ford transit van on Interstate 70, that claimed a life.
Preliminary investigation by Master Trooper Ted Robertson, of the Putnamville Post, indicates that at approximately 6:41 a.m., Ramaz Chokheli, 51, of Brooklyn, New York, was operating a 2019 Volvo semi tractor-trailer traveling east on Interstate 70 near the three-mile marker.
Chokheli was stopped due to the clean-up of multiple vehicle accidents that had occurred earlier in the morning. It was at this time that a 2020 Ford Transit van was traveling east on Interstate 70 near the three-mile marker when it failed to observe that traffic was slowed or stopped in the area, running into the rear of Chokheli’s semi tractor-trailer.
The force of the collision caused the van to erupt in flames. A trooper was located near the accident scene and attempted to extricate the driver out of the transit van, but was unable to do so because of the damage from the collision and the intense heat from the fire.
Sugar Creek Volunteer Fire Department arrived shortly after and worked to extinguish the blaze.
ISP has confirmed that the driver of the transit van is deceased, however positive identification of the driver is not yet available. Once positive identification has been made and family members are notified, the driver’s name will be released.
Investigators say drugs and alcohol are not believed to be a contributing factor in the accident.
Trooper Robertson was assisted at the scene by several troopers of the Putnamville Post, Sugar Creek Fire Department, Honey Creek Fire Department, Trans Care, Lambert’s Wrecker Service, and Vigo County Coroner’s Office.