Two lives were lost in separate vehicular accidents on the Indiana Toll Road Saturday between midnight and 5 a.m.
According to Indiana State Police, the first accident occurred at 12:23 a.m., when an empty horse trailer broke loose from a Chevrolet Suburban heading west and left the roadway, crossing the median and into oncoming traffic. 50-year old Julio Zatina of Bridgeview, Ill., was driving a double-trailer semi in the eastbound lane when the trailer crossed the roadway. Zatina was not able to avoid the trailer and hit it, breaking a piece of the trailer off that flew through the semi’s windshield and struck him. He immediately lost control of the semi, which traveled across the median into the oncoming lane and through to the ditch on the other side.
Zatina was pronounced dead at the scene by the Porter County Coroner from blunt force trauma. The driver of the Suburban, Rick Bullis of Wood Dale, Ill., was not injured.
The second crash was caused by snow and icy roads and took the life of 26-year-old Pierre Louis DeVaugh Smith of Hammond. At approximately 4:30 a.m., a GMC Savannah van was traveling west on the Toll Road when it lost control on the ice, spinning out into the left lane where a Freightliner semi with a trailer hit the driver-side door of the van.
DeVaugh Smith was pronounced dead at the scene by the Porter County Coronor of blunt force trauma. The driver of the semi, Michael Mosher of Portage, was taken to Porter Hospital and treated for pain to his neck before he was released.