Early this morning, Indiana State Police Trooper Lawrence McFarrin responded to a semi that hit the support of an overhead informational sign on I-80/94 causing the sign to partially come down blocking the interstate.
Preliminary investigation revealed that at approximately 4:15 a.m., this morning, Hector Cesar Verdin, 29 of Waterloo, Iowa, was east bound on I-80/94 in the right lane in his 2011 Freightliner semi pulling a refrigerated box trailer filled with meat products owned by Brown Trucking Corporation out of Des Moines, Iowa when he stated another semi in the middle lane tried to move over into the right lane. Verdin jerked his semi to the right, went off the roadway hitting a length of guard rail and then struck the south support rails for the overhead sign at the 15.4 milemarker (this is just east of Ripley Street and just west of the entrance ramp to the Toll Road). This caused the informational sign to partially collapse blocking two lanes of eastbound I-80/94.
Eastbound traffic was diverted off onto Ripley Street until the overhead sign could be brought down completely and dragged off to the outer shoulder. As of 5:45 a.m., the right lane is shut down until the sign can be dismantled and hauled away. All other eastbound lanes are now reopened.
Verdin’s semi was going to Goshen, Indiana after leaving Cedar Falls, Iowa this morning. It had heavy damage to the top of the trailer and right front section of the tractor.
Agencies assisting: Portage Fire Department, Lake Station Fire Department, Waffco Towing, Indiana Department of Transportation and Indiana State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division.
Story and photo provided by Sgt. Ann Wojas from the Indiana State Police, Lowell District.