LAKE COUNTY, Ind. — Two separate truck crashes, with one resulting in serious injuries for a driver, caused a gridlock along the eastbound lanes of Interstate 80/94 for several hours.
The first crash happened at approximately 9:30 p.m. Sept. 26, according to the Indiana State Police (ISP).
A preliminary investigation by Indiana troopers shows that a green 2022 Freightliner was traveling eastbound in the far right lane when it rear-ended a 2003 Freightliner and empty box trailer that was in the process of being towed by Macer Towing. The impact caused debris, along with oil and diesel fuel, to scatter across all the lanes, the ISP said.
All eastbound lanes were shut down for cleanup until around 5 a.m. Sept. 27. Only minor injuries were sustained by the driver of the green 2022 Freightliner.
In a separate incident, which occurred at about3:15 a.m. Sept. 27, troopers were dispatched to the eastbound lanes of I-80/94 at the 8.8 mile-marker following reports that a 2016 Freightliner was stopped in the lane of travel.
When troopers arrived at the scene, they saw another semi, a 2020 Volvo, rear-end the trailer of the stopped truck. As a result of the impact, the driver was trapped inside the cab of the Volvo.
A state trooper reported signs of impairment on the driver of the Freightliner, Kennieth L. O’Conner Jr., 36, of Zachary, Louisiana, who physically resisted, reportedly hitting a trooper on the head with his arm. After multiple requests to stop resisting, troopers used a stun gun to subdue O’Conner, who was then taken into custody.
O’Conner was transported to Southlake Hospital and a warrant was requested and granted to draw blood. Once O’Conner was medically cleared, he was taken to Lake County Jail.
The driver of the Volvo was transported to Northlake Hospital with life-threatening injuries and later flown to the University of Chicago for treatment. The eastbound lanes of I-80/94 were closed until around 9 a.m. Sept. 27 for crash reconstruction and cleanup.
O’Conner is facing charges of operating while intoxicated causing catastrophic injuries, a level 4 felony; battery on law enforcement, a level 6 felony; and resisting arrest, a class A misdemeanor.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.