Cocoa powder, batteries spill on highway in northwestern Indiana semi crash

The scene of Interstate 94 after two semi-trucks crashed in northwestern Indiana Friday, June 14, 2019. (Photo: Indiana State Police)
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PORTER COUNTY, Ind. (WTHR) — Crews worked to put out small fires on a highway in northwestern Indiana Friday morning after a semi-crash caused lithium batteries and cocoa powder on the road.

Two semi-trucks were involved in the crash on eastbound Interstate 94 around 3:45 Friday morning. One driver, 70-year-old Radmilo Samardzio, said he pulled over and parked his truck in the white striped ara that separates the highway from the Burns Harbor exit ramp because he wanted to get a bottle of water. Samardzio said he had turned on his hazard lights just before another driver hit him from behind.

Contents from semi-trucks strewn across Interstate 94 in Porter County after an early morning crash, Friday, June 14, 2019. (Photo: Indiana State Police)
Contents from semi-trucks strewn across Interstate 94 in Porter County after an early morning crash, Friday, June 14, 2019. (Photo: Indiana State Police)

That driver, 57-year-old Steven S. Dare, was driving in the right lane when he reached over to get something and drifted off the roadway, hitting Samardzio's truck. Dare's truck continued further down the roadway before he crashed into the concrete median.

Both trailers split open. Samardzio's trailer had food products, including cocoa powder in it, while Dare's semi had about 100 pounds of lithium batteries, according to Indiana State Police. The contents mixed and ignited in small batches across the highway. Fire crews were able to extinguish them with water.

Neither of the drivers were injured in the crash.

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