1 killed in I-65 wrong-way crash in Johnson County

Mark Thornberry feels fortunate to be alive

FRANKLIN, Ind. - A man was killed late Monday night in a wrong-way crash on Interstate 65 in Johnson County.

Indiana State Police said someone called 911 about 10:30 p.m. to report a wrong-way driver going northbound in the southbound lanes. The crash happened soon after that between Franklin and Edinburgh.

IMAGES: I-65 wrong-way crash

Investigators identified the driver who died as Lee Wayne Oliphant, 67, of Indianapolis. Officers said Oliphant was driving at high speed in the wrong direction before slamming a van head-on into a tractor-trailer.

The van burst into flames, and Oliphant was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Mark Thornberry, 59, of Indianapolis, was not seriously injured.

Thornberry, a truck driver of three decades, said he is grateful to be alive.

He told RTV6 he was in the left lane passing another 18-wheeler, but as he was checking to see if the right lane was clear for him to move back over, tragedy struck.

"And at that time, I see his headlights coming at me," Thornberry said.

Thornberry said he's still sore from the crash, both physically and emotionally.

"And when the police officer came and told me they're fairly sure it's a suicide yeah, I got mad more than depressed," he said.

Thornberry said he plans to return to work as soon as he can.

All lanes of I-65 were closed for several hours following the crash.

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