A semi driver who was choking on a piece of pizza started a chain of events leading to westbound Interstate 70 being closed for hours in Henry County and sending traffic to U.S. 40 in Wayne County.

At about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, Indiana State Police Trooper Jeff Culley responded to westbound I-70 around the 120-mile marker for a semi being towed out of the mud just off the berm.

When Culley arrived, the driver explained he had driven just off the berm and got stuck as he choked on a piece of pizza, according to a news release from ISP Sgt. John Bowling. As wreckers towed the truck back onto the pavement, traffic became slow and congested through the area. After the semi was removed, Culley left the area, only to be called back a few minutes later for a secondary crash in the backup.

At about 2:10 p.m., a 2019 Mercedes, driven by Misty Gonzales, 31 of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was westbound at the 123-mile marker when she failed to notice the slowed traffic in front of her that was left over from the previous incident, Bowling said. The Mercedes struck the back of a 2016 Jeep driven by Bryson Nash, 23 of Gallatin, Tennessee. Gonzalez and her passenger, Paul Karschkes, 63, of Westmount, Illinois, were transported to Henry Community Health in New Castle for complaints of pain. Nash was not injured.

In addition, Henry County Sheriff’s Department investigated a secondary crash in the backup that involved a semi hauling apple juice and another truck. That crash had I-70 westbound blocked for hours, with traffic still being slow through the area as late as 5 p.m.

A secondary crash is an incident that occurs as a direct or indirect result of a previous incident. Approximately 18-20 percent of crashes in Indiana are secondary incidents, or happen in the backup caused by an initial incident.

For more information on secondary crashes and IN-Time, visit http://www.in.gov/intime/2338.htm

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