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Waffco Towing Involved in Incident on I-80/90 (IN)


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LAKE COUNTY, Ind. – Two semis collided Tuesday morning halting traffic on I-80/90.


According to Indiana State Police (ISP), the right two lanes of I-80/90 eastbound near the five mile marker were closed for nearly four hours following a crash at approximately 11:00 a.m Oct. 23.


The investigation revealed that a 2006 red Volvo tractor-trailer owned by a Bensonville, Illinois company, Allynevych, was loaded with metal racks and traveling eastbound in the far right lane.


Troopers say, 26-year-old Raji Salem of Des Plaines, Illinois allegedly told them he had dropped a cigarette causing him to lose control of the Volvo tractor-trailer. Salem then drive off the right side of the roadway onto the shoulder where it struck a broken down semi.


The broken down 2017 white Freightliner, owned by J.B. Hunt, was carrying wine at the time of the crash. The wine appearing undamaged in the crash, officials say.


The investigation further revealed that the Freightliner was in the process of being towed by a tow truck owned by WAFFCO Towing out of Lake Station, Indiana.


A WAFFCO employee was underneath the disabled semi working to tow it when it was struck by Salem’s tractor-trailer. Police say the tow truck employee was unharmed.


The road closure was due to metal racks spread across the roadway obstructing the lanes and a "gapers delay" in westbound traffic was caused by driver slowing down to view the crash.


Salem was given a citation for Unsafe Lane Movement resulting in the crash, officials say.


The broken down Freightliner’s operator, 44-year-old Chad Weber of Allegan, Michigan was given a citation for failing to place warning or hazard devices behind the trailer.


WAFFCO Towing towed both vehicles from the scene.


Hammond Fire Department, INDOT Hoosier-Helpers, ISP Troopers and a Motor Carrier Inspector assisted at the scene.


HAMMOND – A crash between two semi trucks that blocked two lanes of eastbound I-80/94 in Lake County for several hours Tuesday is being blamed on a dropped cigarette.

Indiana State Police were notified about 11 a.m. of a crash between two semis near Mile Marker 5 in Hammond. A red 2006 Volvo tractor/trailer owned by Allynevych Inc. of Bensonville, Illinois, and loaded with metal racks, was eastbound in the far right lane.


The driver, Raji Salem, 26, of Des Plaines, Illinois, told troopers that he was distracted by a dropped cigarette and lost control, according to ISP. The truck then drove off the right side of the road onto the shoulder and struck another semi-trailer that had broken down on the side of the road earlier in the morning, ISP said.

The disabled vehicle, a white 2017 Freightliner, owned by J.B. Hunt, was loaded with wine – but it appeared to be undamaged. At the time of the crash, the Freightliner was being hooked up to a tow truck owned by WAFFCO Towing of Lake Station. An employee of WAFFCO was underneath the disabled semi when it was struck, but he was not injured.


The two right lanes of the eastbound Borman Expressway were closed for about 3.5 hours, police said. The metal racks on the trailer of the Volvo fell off the trailer during the crash, littering the roadway with debris. A lengthy "gaper's delay" was also experienced by westbound drivers.

Salem was cited for unsafe lane movement, which caused the crash. The operator of the disabled vehicle, Chad Weber, 44, of Allegan, Michigan, was also cited for failing to place hazard/warning devices behind the trailer while it was stopped on the shoulder. Both vehicles had to be towed from the scene. Neither driver was injured.

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This is an example where on-scene liability creeps at the industry's door and asks ... why didn't the responding tow company set cones to identify an active work zone?  No ... cones won't stop a wayward vehicle, it's the current liability that goes after a tow companies insurance for deep pocket awards.

Randall C. Resch

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