INDIANAPOLIS — New numbers obtained by Call 6 Investigates show the number of crashes at mile marker 130 in Whitestown, the location where three people died Sunday when a semi-truck allegedly slammed into stopped traffic.
Drivers say the area in Boone County is plagued with congestion due to new housing subdivisions, churches and the Amazon warehouse.
Ten collisions and two injuries occurred at mile marker 130 last year, according to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. Since an additional lane was added in 2011, motorists have been involved in 70 crashes and fifteen injuries total, not including this weekend’s fatal crash.
NUMBERS PROVIDED BY THE INDIANA CRIMINAL JUSTICE INSTITUTE
The Indiana Department of Transportation has made numerous improvements since 2012 including the addition of additional travel, turn, and exit lanes to Interstate 65.
“In 2015, working with the town of Whitestown through the permit process did a project that added an additional exit lane onto Whitestown Parkway and the additional right turn lane so there’s dual right turn lanes for eastbound traffic,” said Debbie Calder, a spokesperson for INDOT. “INDOT added the signal heads at the top with the right turn arrows on them to remind motorists that they have the ability to keep going right and move through that area safely.
Over the next year, INDOT says it plans to add a new interchange between Whitestown Parkway and State Road 267 and redo the interchange at State Road 267.
“We have a project that will be opening for bids in March—a new interchange that will be built between Whitestown Parkway and State Road 267,” said Calder. “It will be a diverging diamond interchange and at State Road 267 we will be making that a diverging diamond interchange as well. That will help the additional traffic in the area and free up some of the other ramps.”
The driver of the semi-truck arrested in connection with Sunday’s crash on I-65 is charged with three counts of Reckless Homicide.
The formal charges for 34-year-old Matthew Lewis Small were announced Tuesday.
Small told police he was driving northbound on I-65 near the 129 mile-marker and looked away from the road to set his coffee mug down when he ran into slowing traffic, according to a release from the Boone County Sheriff's Office. Authorities believe Small collided with eight vehicles as he drove through the back-up.