Crawfordsville-January 11th, at approximately 7:29 p.m., a trooper with the Indiana State Police was assisting with traffic control on I-74 westbound near the 36 mile marker when a semi rear ended his patrol car.
Preliminary investigation by Trooper Kyle Wentland has revealed that Sergeant Randy Gritten was sitting in his fully marked patrol car with emergency lights and flares partially in the left hand lane. Sergeant Gritten was attempting to move traffic into the right lane so a wrecker could pull out an ambulance. The lights and flares were visible for over a mile. A Maroon 2001 International semi pulling a trailer driven by John E. Brandle, 59 years old from Rock Island, IL was westbound following another semi running 52 miles an hour. Brandle decided to pass the semi and pulled out into the left lane. While passing the other semi, Brandle’s semi ran over the flares in the roadway and struck Sergeant Gritten’s patrol vehicle in the right rear sending it into the median. Sergeant Gritten was seat belted in and was not injured in the crash. Brandle was able to bring his semi to rest in the left lane. Brandle also refused treatment at the scene. Both vehicles were towed from the scene. Sergeant Gritten’s patrol car was a total loss.
Brandle was cited for speed too fast for weather conditions and failure to yield right of way to stationary emergency vehicle. Brandle’s semi was inspected by Motor Carrier Inspector Trooper Joel Flores who stated there were no mechanical reasons for the semi not to be able to stop for the emergency vehicle. “This is just another reason that weather is not the primary cause of crashes.” Trooper Wentland stated. “Drivers need to slow down and give extra space when road conditions deteriorate.”