Indiana State Police are urging drivers to be more careful after two fatal crashes on the Indiana Toll Road early Saturday.
The first crash happened about 12:23 a.m. when an empty 12-foot Shadow horse trailer on a Chevy Suburban traveling west came loose and hit the driver of a semi-trailer truck, according to a press release from Indiana State Police.
The semi, pulling double trailers, hit the horse trailer, a piece of which broke off and flew through the semi’s windshield, striking the driver and causing him to lose control of the vehicle.
The driver, 50-year-old Julio Zatina, suffered blunt force trauma and was pronounced dead at the scene from his injuries. He was driving for United Parcel Service (UPS) out of Chicago, the release said.
The driver of the Suburban, Rick A. Bullis, 42, was not injured.
The second crash happened around 4:30 a.m. when a the driver of GMC van heading westbound near the Portage Toll Plaza lost control on the snow/icy roads, a separate release form the Indiana State Police said.
The van spun out into the left lane where a Freightliner semi pulling a flatbed trailer hit the van broadside in the driver’s door. The Freightliner, owned by Burnham Trucking Company out of East Chicago, Indiana, was not loaded. The driver, Michael A. Mosher, 57, of Portage, was taken to Porter Hospital in Portage and treated and released after complaining of pain in his neck. Mosher was cited for a log book violation, state police said.
The driver of the GMC van, Pierre Louise DeVaugh Smith, 26, of Hammond, was pronounced dead at the scene, of blunt force trauma, by the Porter County Coroner.