By Steven Penn
PLAINFIELD — A massive wreck Thursday afternoon on Interstate 70 resulted in both lanes of traffic closing, multiple injuries, and one fatality.
I-70 eastbound and westbound, from State Road 267 (the Plainfield exit) to Exit 59 (the Monrovia exit) was closed.
Indiana State Police Public Information Officer Capt. David Bursten said officials received the first call just after 2 p.m.
“We got the first call at 2:09 p.m. ... multiple vehicles (were) involved in crashes (in the) east and westbound (lanes of Interstate) 70, under (S. C.R.) 725 (East or Bottom Road).”
He said the I-70/S. C.R. 725 East area was the “epicenter” of the wreck and that the cause of the accident is still “under investigation.”
Bursten said 12 people were transported to area hospitals. He said the majority were transported to IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, some were taken to IU Health West in Avon and some to Hendricks Regional Health in Danville.
Bursten said. “I’m told a couple people are seriously injured.”
One accident victim succumbed to his injuries Thursday evening.
Bursten said multiple passenger vehicles and semi-trucks were involved.
“(There were) give or take 20 semis and 15 or so passenger vehicles (involved), but we don’t have a final count,” he said.
In addition to the epicenter of the crash, Bursten said there have been multiple subsequent crashes of vehicles that did not get stopped in time and numerous other vehicles that drove into the ditch to avoid wrecking.
He stressed that at this time, the number of vehicles involved is an “approximation, not an accurate count.”
Numerous vehicles were stranded along the road, although not involved in the wreckage, including a chartered bus with Plainfield High School juniors and seniors who had visited Indiana State University in Terre Haute, and a tractor-trailer that was transporting three grown elephants.
Some motorists were stranded there for hours before the interstate reopened.
Indiana State Police worked the accident, with assistance from the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Department, Plainfield Police Department, the Avon and Plainfield fire departments, and several other agencies.
“We’ve got multiple wreckers here, we’ve got multiple emergency vehicles, Indianapolis Fire, Plainfield Fire, Avon Fire, (and) we’ve got multiple police agencies here as well,” Bursten said. “We’re working to remedy it as quick as we can.”
Heavy snow continued to fall on the area throughout the day and into the evening, impairing visibility and making roadways slick.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.