Michigan tanker driver killed in single-vehicle rollover accident

Indiana Fatal Crash
On Friday, Dec. 5, a tractor hauling a bulk liquid trailer rolled over into the median on the Indiana Toll Road (Interstate 80/90). The driver died at the scene. (Courtesy: Indiana State Police)

STEUBEN COUNTY, Ind. — Trucker Stephen Robert Downs, 61, of Colon, Michigan, was killed Friday, Dec. 5, in a single-vehicle semi rollover crash on the Indiana Toll Road (Interstate 80/90), according to the Indiana State Police.

At about 6:45 p.m. local time Dec. 5, state police responded to an accident report near the 151 mile marker. Upon arrival, troopers found that a Freightliner tractor pulling a bulk liquid tanker trailer rolled over down in the center median.

First responders were unable to extricate the driver, identified as Downs, from the cab of the truck because of extensive damage. Downs died at the scene. There were no other occupants in the truck.

Damage to the tanker caused the spillage of approximately 4,0000 gallons of milk, along with approximately 100 gallons of diesel fuel. Clean up of the wreckage debris and spillage required the closure of both eastbound and westbound lanes for nearly two hours.

A preliminary investigation by Indiana State Trooper Brandon Johnson revealed that the tractor was initially traveling eastbound on I-90 in the left lane when, for reasons unknown, the truck went off the edge of the road onto the soft shoulder. The driver attempted to correct, but lost control. Both the tractor and tanker trailer rolled over onto the driver’s side and came to rest in the median. Because of extensive damage sustained by both the tractor and trailer, it has not yet been determined if Downs was restrained at the time of the crash. Alcohol use was not suspected.

The crash remains under investigation by the Indiana State Police and the Steuben County Coroner’s Office. With the assistance of the Michigan State Police, notifications have been made to the Downs family.

Johnson was assisted at the scene by Steuben County Sheriff Department, Steuben EMS, the Freemont Fire Department and the Steuben County Coroner’s Office.

For over 30 years, the objective of The Trucker editorial team has been to produce content focused on truck drivers that is relevant, objective and engaging. After reading this article, feel free to leave a comment about this article or the topics covered in this article for the author or the other readers to enjoy. Let them know what you think! We always enjoy hearing from our readers.


  1. Sorry to read of another Death due to a Tractors forced participation with a coupled Trailer that is IMMINENT to Rollover; as the Trailer is the dominant controlling energy force that will force the Tractor to follow to its Destruction; and cause Harm and the Death to its occupants of Men, Women & Children by the many Hundreds, each year when Thousands of these accidents occur annually, that are not always the “Drivers” fault, in the U.S. alone! Interested in a common-sense resolve to save lives when these Commercial Tractor Trailer Rollovers are IMMINENT? Visit my research submission to the U.S. Transportation Research Board at WWW.DEFORMABLEKINGPIN.COM that will expose WHY these accidents continue to be recorded for over 40 years as backs turn for PAY-LOAD influence and reject common-sense! DJK


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here