INDIANAPOLIS — A person is dead after a wrong-way crash early Sunday morning on Interstate 70. Investigators say the driver collided with the semi, sending it down an embankment before catching fire with the car lodged underneath.
Interstate 70 eastbound remained closed for more than 12 hours near Harding Street as crews worked to clean up.
The truck driver was Ricky Stroud of Powhatan, Virginia. He had been heading to drop a load in Jonestown, Pennsylvania, for his company LTI Trucking Services.
“Yeah, it was about a little after 1 in the morning. And we hear it all the time. We thought a semi blew a tire,” said witness, Anna Wright- Case.
Many other witnesses and even investigators believed the same but that was not the case.
“A guy sort of comes around the corner traveling at such a high rate of speed. I don’t even have time to blink my lights or anything. Not even blow my air horn. I remember the tractor-trailer pulling a hard right, going over the embankment and I told my dog again to ‘hang on’ and in a split second I was like – ‘God, help me’,” said LTI Trucking driver Ricky Stroud.
After Stroud’s semi went down the embankment, it crashed into a tree, sending his dog Dolly into the windshield and lodged him between his steering wheel.
“Immediately, I told my children to call 911. I called back to let them know it’s blazing,” said Wright-Case.
His trailer was engulfed in flames. Witnesses stood nearby as firefighters tried to douse the flames before fireworks began to go off.
“We had 4th of July in January here but it was scary — wasn’t something exciting for us,” said Wright-Case.
But Stroud says he was carrying candy in his trailer.
“When I looked around – everything that I owned was right by my head. My cab had been smashed like a Coke can,” said Stroud.
He lost all of his personal belongings including his phone, wallet, laptop, even clothes. He left the scene with no shoes. And he also left without one of his most prized possession.
“I’ve got a video of my grandma singing happy birthday to me that was on my laptop. She died of breast cancer – and now that video is gone forever,” said Stroud.
But what will never be forgotten are those who rushed to help.
“My hat goes off to the Indianapolis Fire Department. They did a great job,” said Wright-Case.
“So thankful the FedEx man helped him because if it wasn’t for the FedEx man that helped, he wouldn’t have been able to make it out,” said Ricky’s mom, Bonnie Stroud.
Stroud has a final message to the family who lost their loved one. He hopes to meet them before he heads back home to Virginia to offer his condolences in person.
“I am sorry for your loss – and I don’t know why he was on the wrong side of the road on the interstate.”