State police blame I-70 wrecks on trucker who choked on pizza

NEW CASTLE, Ind. (ADAMS) – The Indiana State Police are blaming a series of wrecks in Henry County on a truck driver who choked on a piece of pizza. That happened at 1:30 on Tuesday afternoon near New Castle.

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 he arrived the driver explained he had driven just off the berm and got stuck as he choked on a piece of pizza. 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.

The preliminary investigation by Trooper Culley found that around 2:10 p.m. a 2019 Mercedes, driven by Misty Gonzales, age 31 of Pittsburgh, PA., 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.

The Mercedes struck the back of a 2016 Jeep driven by Bryson Nash, age 23 of Gallatin, TN. Gonzalez and her passenger, Paul Karschkes, age 63 of Westmount, IL, were transported to Henry Community Health Hospital in New Castle for complaints of pain. Nash was not injured.

Henry County Sheriff’s Department investigated a secondary crash in the back up from Trooper Culley’s crash 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. State police remind drivers that approximately 18-20% of crashes in Indiana are “Secondary Incidents,” or happen in the backup caused by an initial incident.