Two killed in I-65 crash
Rich Van Wyk/Eyewitness News
Indianapolis - A horrific accident involving a tractor trailer, an SUV, a car and a pickup truck tied up traffic on the south side all morning. The crash also took the lives of two people known by many firefighters and police officers in central Indiana.
Vania Shields was a paramedic with Wayne Township and Bargersville fire departments. She was 33 years old.
Charles "Chuck" Gould was a chemist for the Marion County Crime Lab and Greenwood Police. He was 28.
The accident occurred at the start of rush hour on I-65 near Whiteland Road. In the pre dawn darkness, the victims may not have even seen what hit them.
A southbound FedEx semi pulling two trailers careened across the I-65 median into head-on rush hour traffic, hitting three vehicles. A wheel and tire left in the southbound lanes of the roadway appears to have been the cause of the semi going off the road.
"If you are traveling that speed and you hit something that appears out of the dark, it is going to be a horrendous impact," said Sgt. Wayne Flick, Indiana State Police.
The impact was so violent that it tore open an SUV and passenger car. The coroner says their drivers were killed instantly and never had a chance.
"They were both seat belted in. Safety equipment was working. Air bags went off, but as you see the catastrophic collision took the tops off the vehicles," said David Lutz, Johnson County coroner.
The collision closed I-65 northbound for seven hours and slowed southbound traffic, causing backups stretching for miles in each direction.
State police investigators are already at work, reconstructing the accident.
The truck driver, 40-year-old Michael Sumner, tested negative for drugs and alcohol. They suspect Sumner lost control after hitting a large truck wheel found laying on the interstate.
Wayne Township firefighters arrived, their badges banded in black as they mourned a comrade they say lived a passion for public service.
"I am sure paramedic Shields has responded to many accidents like this one in her career. Today she unfortunately fell victim to one of them," said Captain Troy Wymer, Wayne Township Fire Department.
While two families now grieve, investigators want to know where the tire came from.
At Wayne Township's fire department, flags are flying at half-staff for their colleague.
Two other people in a pick up truck were injured the accident. One was treated and released, and the other is in stable condition.