HENDRICKS COUNTY — All lanes of westbound I-70 had to be shut down for several hours after a fatal crash in Hendricks County.
It happened just before 1 p.m. near State Road 39. The crash involved several semi trucks, a school bus full of students and two other vehicles.
Preliminary investigation revealed a westbound semi, driven by 51-year-old Kenneth B. Gieger Jr. of Princeton, IN., failed to slow for traffic that was slowing for an INDOT temporary work area near the scene.
The semi then struck a white, 2012 Ford rental box truck in the rear, driven by 39-year-old Matthew Roeder of Peoria, Arizona. The impact then forced the Roeder box truck into the rear of a 2006 Bluebird school bus, driven by 52-year-old Wendell R. Clay of Richland, Missouri.
The semi continued to veer left, impacting a white 1998 Chevrolet van, driven by 51-year-old Mark G. Stewart of St. Louis, Missouri, ultimately forcing the van into the inner barrier cables.
A passenger in the box truck was pronounced deceased at the scene. The deceased was identified by Hendricks County Coroner Joe Neuman as 19-year-old Jace D. Roeder of Woods Cross, Utah, the son of the driver.
Geiger and Matthew Roeder were transported to area hospitals for treatment of what is believed to be non-life threatening injuries. Clay and Stewart reported no injuries.
Geiger was cited for following too close.
The school bus had 23 high school students and five adults onboard and were returning to Stoutland and Richland Schools in Missouri from a Future Farmers of America (FFA) Conference in Indianapolis.
Seven teenage students were transported to area hospitals for treatment. The remaining students and adults were bused to nearby Cascade High School of the Mill Creek School Corporation to await transportation back to Missouri.
Officials said the way the bus was packed may have prevented additional injuries.
The interstate has now fully reopened following the crash. At this time, drugs and/or alcohol do not appear to be a factor.