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Two semis collide, halt traffic on I-80/90

LAKE COUNTY, Ind. – Two semis collided Tuesday morning halting traffic on I-80/90.

According to Indiana State Police (ISP), the right two lanes of I-80/90 eastbound near the five mile marker were closed for nearly four hours following a crash at approximately 11:00 a.m Oct. 23.

The investigation revealed that a 2006 red Volvo tractor-trailer owned by a Bensonville, Illinois company, Allynevych, was loaded with metal racks and traveling eastbound in the far right lane.

Troopers say, 26-year-old Raji Salem of Des Plaines, Illinois allegedly told them he had dropped a cigarette causing him to lose control of the Volvo tractor-trailer. Salem then drive off the right side of the roadway onto the shoulder where it struck a broken down semi.

The broken down 2017 white Freightliner, owned by J.B. Hunt, was carrying wine at the time of the crash. The wine appearing undamaged in the crash, officials say.

The investigation further revealed that the Freightliner was in the process of being towed by a tow truck owned by WAFFCO Towing out of Lake Station, Indiana.

A WAFFCO employee was underneath the disabled semi working to tow it when it was struck by Salem’s tractor-trailer. Police say the tow truck employee was unharmed.

The road closure was due to metal racks spread across the roadway obstructing the lanes and a "gapers delay" in westbound traffic was caused by driver slowing down to view the crash.

Salem was given a citation for Unsafe Lane Movement resulting in the crash, officials say.

The broken down Freightliner’s operator, 44-year-old Chad Weber of Allegan, Michigan was given a citation for failing to place warning or hazard devices behind the trailer.

WAFFCO Towing towed both vehicles from the scene.

Hammond Fire Department, INDOT Hoosier-Helpers, ISP Troopers and a Motor Carrier Inspector assisted at the scene.

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