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Update: I-70 accident results in fatality

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

MONROVIA -- A semi driver, whose rig had become disabled along Interstate-70 in western Hendricks County Tuesday morning, was fatally injured in an accident near the State Road 39 interchange.

At approximately 7:36 a.m., Indiana State Police responded to a crash at the 57-mile marker of I-70 eastbound.

A preliminary investigation revealed that a while International tractor pulling a trailer had become disabled eastbound on the right shoulder approximately one mile west of SR 39.

The vehicle was in the process of being towed by a 2003 Peterbilt wrecker from Curtis Wrecker Service, Little Point, when the accident unfolded.

Investigators determined that traffic was slowing down and moving over when a green eastbound 2003 Freightliner tractor approached the scene, pulling two trailers.

According to witness accounts, the vehicle, driven by Richard C. Maples, 60, Wilmington, Ohio, was allegedly going faster than the other vehicles near the scene.

Arnold O. Rexroad, 64, Effingham, Ill., driver of the disabled semi, and the wrecker operator, Joshua D. Sims, 30, Cloverdale, were standing at the roadside between their vehicles when the Freightliner's second trailer jackknifed, striking the semi from behind and pushing the semi forward into the wrecker.

The impact pinned Rexroad. The Hendricks County coroner pronounced him dead at the scene.

Sims, meanwhile, was able to jump from between the vehicles. The Cloverdale man suffered lower body injuries in the accident.

Maples, who was driving the tractor pulling the double trailers, was also injured, although his injuries were unspecified.

Sims and Maples were taken to Wishard Hospital, Indianapolis.

The eastbound lanes of I-70 were closed between Cloverdale and SR 39 for much of Tuesday. The left eastbound land was reopened to traffic just before 4 p.m., Tuesday.

Both lanes were officially reopened by 6:15 p.m.

Wood resurfacing material was strewn across the roadway in the accident, along with various non-hazardous cargo being scattered at the scene of the crash, causing a clean-up issue.

Traffic was diverted from eastbound I-70 to United States 231, north to U.S. 40, throughout most of the day.

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