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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

3 killed in crash on I-69 in northeast Indiana

Seven vehicles, including two semi tractor-trailers, were involved in the collision Wednesday afternoon.
Credit: WPTA
Three people were killed in a crash on I-69 near Auburn, Indiana Wednesday.

AUBURN, Ind. — Three people were killed in a crash involving seven vehicles in northeast Indiana Wednesday afternoon.

Indiana State Police said the crash happened on Interstate 69 just north of Auburn at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday. An ISP detective drove up on the collision and called for ambulances and rescue equipment.

A preliminary investigation indicated the crash happened after traffic on the highway had slowed or stopped approaching a construction zone. Troopers said a semi driver, 70-year-old James Crager, was speeding as he approached the traffic and did not slow down or adjust to avoid the congestion.

The semi first collided with two SUVs and a passenger car. The impact forced the car into the back of another semi. Two other vehicles were able to swerve out of the direct path of the truck and weren't badly damaged.

Sixty-five-year-old William Charles Heil, the driver of one of the cars was pronounced dead at the scene.

Rescue personnel had to extricate two other victims from an SUV: Dale Eugene Lowe, 81, and his wife, Jean Elsie Lowe, 72. They later died at a Fort Wayne hospital. Three other passengers from the same vehicle were hospitalized.

The crash closed the highway for more than five hours.

An investigation is underway.