A multi-vehicle accident right at the Interstate-70 westbound on-ramp closed the westbound lane of the highway at the 23-mile marker Friday evening around 4:40 p.m.
Although the accident is currently under investigation, officials at the scene believe a westbound semi tractor-trailer was apparently unable to avoid striking another semi that had broke down in the area between the interstate and the on-ramp, causing a chain reaction accident involving a total of three semi-tractor-trailers and several other passenger vehicles.
One tractor-trailer, which was carrying bags of dog food, was ripped open and dog food and debris was dumped over portions of the westbound lane as the semi continued for about a half-mile before stopping. Another semi tractor-trailer jackknifed and broke apart, coming to rest in the median of the highway.
Officials believe it could take several hours to clean the debris from the roadway.
It was unclear how many passenger vehicles were involved in the accident, but officials said several came to a stop in the median while attempting to avoid collision. Also, an undisclosed number of accident victims were treated for undisclosed minor injuries at the scene. No major injuries have been reported at this time.
While the eastbound lane of I-70 was unaffected by the accident, some westbound vehicles were allowed to pass around the accident scene before officials closed the highway at the 23-mile marker.
Members of the Clay County Sheriff's Department and Indiana State Police allowed several vehicles directly behind the accident on the interstate along with those stopped on the on-ramp to continue westward at a slowed pace. At the same time, officials stopped vehicles before the I-70 off-ramp at the Brazil exit so drivers could exit onto State Road 59 to use other routes.
The Indiana Department of Transportation placed signs in the area to help direct the traffic at the off-ramp.
Emergency response personnel from Jackson and Posey Township Volunteer Fire Departments, Clay County Search and Rescue and TransCare also responded to the scene.
Updates will be posted on www.thebraziltimes.com as more information is provided.