August 19, 2013 — The driver of the semi-tractor truck involved in a fiery crash that killed seven people on I-65 Thursday night reportedly has a history of speeding.
The Michigan Department of State released the driving history today for Howard Stratton, a man whom Indiana State Police say was driving a truck that rear-ended a Jeep Cherokee, crushing it into another tractor-trailer. ISP says four of the seven casualties were children aged seven and younger.
Stratton’s record shows police pulled him over six times since 2006, including three tickets issued when he was driving a commercial vehicle.
ISP Sergeant Tony Slocum says it’s still too early to determine the cause of the crash, “This is probably a crash that could have been prevented, the circumstances where all too often this is occurring in the State of Indiana and throughout the nation where we are having construction or we are having crashes in our construction zones, so I’m asking folks on behalf of the State of Indiana and throughout the nation heed the warnings of the signs of impending work zones and take actions according.”
Slocum says once the investigation is complete a report will be sent to the Jasper County Prosecutor’s Office which will determine if charges will be filed. Jasper County Sheriff Terry Risner said today that the report could arrive later this week, confirming that no arrest had been made involving the fatal crash.
The names of the deceased are being released with permission from Jasper County Coroner Andy Boersman.
– Yvette Williams, 35, Atlanta, GA, driver
– Amado Mangual, 49, Merrillville, IN
– Lindsey Williams, 27, Merrillville, IN
– Yazmin Goldman, 5, Merrillville, IN
– Arielle Goldman, 3, Merrillville, IN
– Jamin Osborne, 5, Atlanta, GA
– Jasmin Osborne, 7, Atlanta, GA
ISP says the victims’ vehicle was so badly demolished that ISP was unsure if other passengers were in the vehicle that was crushed between to tractor-trailers. “Due to the severity of the damage to the Jeep, investigators had it transported … so emergency personnel could make extrication. While disassembling the Jeep, emergency workers found five more bodies, in addition to the two bodies observed at the crash scene. There were a total of three adults and four children found inside the vehicle.”
ISP says a preliminary crash investigation by Trooper Ricky Rayner shows that a northbound 2007 Volvo semi-tractor pulling a box trailer rear-ended the Jeep. ISP says the Jeep was stopped behind a Freightliner tractor-trailer, stopped by a traffic backup from an approaching work zone. ISP says the impact smashed the Jeep into the back of the trailer in front of it.
ISP’s report says 55-year-old Howard Stratton of Grand Rapids, Michigan was driving the Volvo truck, and the Freightliner truck was driven by 33-year-old Steven Crockett of Union, Ohio.