June 26, 2013 — A burning tractor-trailer truck on northbound Interstate 65 near Ridge Road caused a road closure that led to miles of stalled traffic today. The highway blockage caused traffic to jam Northbound I-65 from Ridge Road south to Highway 30 in Merrillville, approximately six miles distance.
Indiana State Police says the truck caught fire this morning around 7:30am during morning rush hours.
ISP’s preliminary investigation by Master Trooper Brian White shows that a 2006 Freightliner semi pulling a box trailer, driven by 35-year-old Christopher Woodard of Park Forest, Illinois, was northbound on I-65 near the Ridge Road exit when he noticed smoke coming from his truck’s exhaust. “Shortly, thereafter his semi tractor began to burn.”
ISP says Woodard was not injured, though his tractor became fully engulfed, while his box trailer loaded with canned food sustained only smoke damage. State Police report that the semi, owned by Schneider National Carriers of Gary, was going from Gas City, Indiana to Chicago.
ISP says that when all lanes northbound on I-65 were shut down to extinguish the fire south bound lanes were affected by heavy smoke coming across the interstate, before all lanes northbound were re-opened at 9:08am.