PORTER COUNTY—An early morning accident involving a semi reportedly resulted in the death of a local road-side construction worker. The crash occurred on I-94 shortly before 3 a.m. on Friday, May 22.
The Porter County Coroner's Office confirmed that the deceased individual is Knox resident 38-year-old Ryan Greer. Greer was an employee of Traffic Control Specialists and the grandson of former Knox Mayor Nancy J. Dembowski.
According to a press release from the Indiana State Police, at 2:55 a.m., troopers were dispatched to a crash involving a semi and another truck on I-94 east-bound, near the 23 mile-marker, which is approximately one mile east of the Burns Harbor/Porter exit ramp.
The initial officer on-scene was a Burns Harbor officer who located a male subject lying in the roadway. A semi was fully engulfed and another truck with orange traffic barrels was located in the south ditch in the trees. A helicopter was originally contacted for the injured, but it was cancelled when it was determined that the victim was deceased.
A preliminary investigation conducted by Senior Trooper Anthony Ptoesta shows that a 2019 Volvo tractor/trailer was east-bound when for unknown reasons it drove onto the right shoulder. Parked on the right shoulder, with its amber waring lights activated, was a 2017 Dodge Ram straight truck owned by Traffic Control Specialists, Inc.
The vehicle was stopped on the shoulder due to the occupants being construction workers who were actively performing maintenance to the orange construction zone signs along I-94.
The driver of the Dodge, Greer, stepped out the left side of the truck at approximately the same time it was rear-ended by the Volvo semi.
This impact resulted in Greer sustaining fatal injuries. An unnamed male passenger in the Dodge was uninjured.
Following the initial impact, the Volvo continued east, crossed all lanes of travel and struck the concrete median wall where it burst into flames. The driver of the semi, 54-year-old Kuldeep Singh Palak, of Alberta Canada was able to escape injury. The semi-truck is owned/operated by Tri-Star Carriers Ltd, located in Ontario Canada. The trailer was loaded with 37,000 lbs. of frozen pork and was en route to Ottawa, Ontario from Oakland, Iowa. The contents of the trailers were lost due to the Fire.
The investigation remains ongoing. The Indiana State Police Crash Reconstruction Team was notified for scene investigation. The Indiana State Police Commercial Motor Vehicle Division (CVED) is assisting with a Commercial Motor Vehicle Inspection. Formal chargers or citations are pending the outcome of the investigation and will be determined by the Porter County Prosecutor's Office.
The vehicles were towed by WAFFCO Towing. Assisting at the scene were the following: Sgt. Dale Turner (CVED), M/Trp. Lawerence McFarrin,
Trooper Kurtis Jones and Trooper John Landowski (Reconstruction), Burns Harbor Police Department, Porter Police Department, Porter County HAZMAT, IDEM, Burns Harbor Fire Department, Porter County Coroner and INDOT.
Notification of the deceased was made by the Porter County Coroner’s Office.
At the conclusion of their press release about this incident ISP officials stressed the importance of slowing down for construction zones and yielding to emergency vehicles when they are stopped on the side of the roadways. Motorists should always drive through these construction zones as if your family member or loved one is working.
They added that by driving safely, you will make it to your destination and construction workers will have a safer working environment and most importantly, also be able to go home at the end of their shift.