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Whiteland Man Victim in Fatal Interstate Crash

A Whiteland man was the victim in a fatal car crash Tuesday night on Interstate 65, south of the Edinburgh exit in Bartholomew County.

Indiana State Police say that traffic was already backed due to earlier crashes, when Michael Otte, 56, of Whiteland came upon the scene. Otte's car, a Ford Fiesta, struck the back of a stopped semi-trailer driven by Michael Vogel of Rockford, Illinois, said Sgt. Noel Houze, spokesman for the state police. Troopers believe Otte was distracted because the stopped truck had its emergency flashers on and the lead up to the traffic snarl was a long, straight piece of road.  

Trooper Seth Davidson arrived on the scene moments after the crash at about 8:14 p.m., and found Otte was already dead, Houze said. The impact was so great that the engine of Otte's car was found lying beside the vehicle.

Maj. Todd Noblitt, spokesman for the Bartholomew County Sheriff's Department, said a chain of four accidents started with a crash north of the Edinburgh exit. The last of the four, at about the 75-mile-marker, just south of the Edinburgh exit, led to the death.   

Noblitt said that in one of the accidents preceding the fatality, a semi-trailer crashed into the barrier cable and ruptured its fuel tank, dumping about 75 gallons of diesel fuel on the roadside. The road was partially closed because the truck was wrapped up in the dables and officers were waiting for the Indiana Department of Transportation to arrive and release the tension on the cable, so a wrecker could pull it away. 

The northbound lanes of the interstate were closed for more than two hours.

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 10:30:24 AM

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