A car/truck wreck on west U.S. 40 Tuesday about 8:45 a.m. claimed the life of a Clay County man. Mark S. Tanner, 50, of rural Clay County, was pronounced dead at the scene by Deputy Coroner Sherrie Swearingen. An autopsy later showed the cause of death to be massive head trauma.
Tanner's vehicle had run under a semi tractor trailer driven by Jaime S. Arambul from El Monte, Calif. Tanner was entrapped in the vehicle and had to be extricated.
According to police reports, witnesses stated the truck driver was backing east bound in the west bound lanes of U.S. 40.
One witness said he was forced to change lanes in order to avoid the semi trailer. He then observed in his rear view mirror a silver passenger car, that he had passed moments earlier, run into the back of the trailer.
According to a report at the scene, Arambul wanted to turn south onto CR 550W but missed the turn and stopped the truck. Arambul admitted to stopping on the roadway but denied that he was backing up at the time of the collision.
Apparently Tanner was unaware the truck had stopped. There were no obvious skid marks on the highway indicating that he had tried to stop his vehicle before making contact with the truck.
Drugs and alcohol were not a factor in the accident, however, Arambul was cited for reckless driving.
The crash is under investigation by Clay County Sheriff's Department Dep. Jon Lambert, the Indiana State Police and the ISP motor carrier division. Assisting at the scene were Athens Ambulance, Clay County Search and Rescue, Posey Fire Department and Indiana Conservation Officer Paul Harden.
According to the Clay County Sheriff's Department, there were six accidents called in Tuesday between 6:51 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. Two involved personal injuries but details of the wrecks and the condition of those involved were not known at press time.