Fiery semi crash shuts down I-70 ramp at North Split for several hours

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INDIANAPOLIS, -- A semi-truck erupts into flames following an early morning crash on I-70.

That accident closed the ramp from westbound I-70 to southbound I-65 at the North Split early Thursday morning.  The lanes reopened several hours later around 2 p.m. on Thursday.

Flames engulfed the big rig after witnesses say the driver lost control on the north split and slammed into a side wall, causing the semi to catch fire.

"What happened was, he turned the wheel too sharp to get in the left lane, started skidding and turn the wheel back to the right real hard, and that’s when he hit this wall," said witness Brian McElyea.

It took emergency crews several hours to pull the damaged semi off the road.  Crews also had to remove the charred mess and install extra support beams around the damaged section of side-wall.

Speed and weather were likely contributing factors to the crash, according to ISP.

"I can’t say for certain what caused the crash, but obviously the driver failed to navigate the curve in the roadway," said INDOT spokesman Nathan Riggs.

Riggs says to reduce semi accidents in 2015 INDOT installed electronic speed limit signs and blinking lights at the 7 most accident prone interstate ramps in Indianapolis.

The 70 southbound ramp to 65 didn’t qualify for those improvements and is not normally a dangerous curve.

"You know everything with this location meets specs.  It’s a safe location, but they do need to slow down to make the curve.  That didn’t happen here," said Riggs.

The cost of fixing the ramp wall in this case won’t be significant, unlike when a semi driver slammed into the Rockville road overpass in January, but in both cases the drivers insurance will be asked to pay the damage done.

"Just like if personal property is damaged, most drivers are required to carry insurance to cover what they might be responsible for.  So we as a state seek reimbursement for damage to state property," said Riggs.  "We just need people to slow down so that things like this don’t happen."

Despite the damage done, no one suffered any serious injuries in the wreck.

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