Cocoa, Batteries Catch Fire in Northwest Indiana Truck Crash

The crash shut down the eastbound lanes of I-94 ahead of the morning rush hour, with extensive delays expected

A crash involving two semi-trucks shut down traffic on I-94 in northwest Indiana ahead of the morning rush hour on Friday, with contents of the trucks combusting into small flames.

The crash took place at around 3:43 a.m. near Burns Harbor, according to a statement from Indiana State Police.

A truck driver pulled over in the eastbound lanes and parked on the shoulder, telling authorities that he stopped to get a bottle of water and had his emergency hazards on when his semi was hit from behind.

Another truck driver was eastbound in the right lane when he reached over his passenger seat to get something and drifter off the roadway, hitting the other truck's trailer, ISP said.

Authorities said the second truck continued eastbound and crashed into the concrete median barrier. Both trailers were split open and their contents - one cocoa powder and the other including 100 pounds of lithium batteries - were strewn across the expressway. The batteries then leaked onto the cocoa powder which caused it to ignite in small flames, according to police.

Both drivers were wearing their seat belts and were not injured in the collision, officials said.

The expressway was shut down in both directions with traffic diverted at the Burns Harbor/Porter exit, authorities said. Westbound lanes reopened within hours but eastbound lanes remained closed as of 8:30 a.m. Police said an "extended clean-up" was expected at the scene, warning drivers to find alternate routes and expect long delays.

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