CHICAGO (CBS) — Five people, including a truck driver from north suburban Lake Zurich, were killed overnight, when a tanker truck caused a chain reaction crash on Interstate 65 near Lafayette, Indiana.
Police said 34-year-old Pankiv Ruslan, of Lake Zurich, was driving a 2015 Volvo tanker truck filled with cooking oil in the southbound lanes of I-65 shortly before midnight, and failed to slow down for construction, according to Indiana State Police.
The tanker slammed into the rear of a 2009 Toyota Yaris, pushing it off the road, and into a ditch, police said. The truck kept going south, and rear-ended a 2012 Honda Pilot, causing it to spin into the median. The tanker then rear-ended a 2006 Volvo semi-trailer truck full of frozen chicken wings.
Police said the semi-trailer and the two cars involved in the crash had slowed down due to construction in the area.
The two trucks and the Honda Pilot all caught fire in the crash.
Five people were killed in the wreck, including Ruslan, who died in the fire.
Jill Buck, 47; her 10-year-old son, Branson; and her 8-year-old son A.J. were killed in the fire, according to police. Buck was driving the Honda Pilot, police said.
Mikhail Yuryevich Stepanov, 41, of Lafayette, was killed when the tanker truck hit his Toyota Yaris, according to police. His passenger, 31-year-old Tatiana Yuryevna Stepanova, was injured.
The southbound lanes of I-65 were still closed near Lafayette as of late Friday morning. The northbound lanes reopened around 6:30 a.m.
Ruslan was a contracted worker of Illini State Trucking Co. of Hammond. A representative there declined to comment on camera but issued a statement, CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross reports.
“We want to extend our sympathies and condolences to the families of those killed,” the statement said in part.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the company has been targeted for increased random roadside inspections.
That is because of the number of times their drivers were accused of driving more hours than legally allowed.
The company has 53 violations, including speeding, and following too close, federal records say.