Ind. highway worker fatally struck by semi on I-80

August 16, 2012 7:39:41 AM PDT
A 34-year-old man from Lowell, Ind., is dead after being struck on the job along an I-80 ramp Wednesday afternoon about a mile from the U.S. 421 interchange in western LaPorte County.

Indiana State Police say James B. Payton, 60 of Calumet City, Ill., was driving a 2012 Mack semi pulling a box trailer in the right lane near Michigan City as the roadway worker, Chad Fleager, stood outside of his vehicle on the entrance ramp next to the right lane taking measurements for roadwork.

Police say the semi veered to the right, out of the right lane when Payton looked across the interstate at the truck parking lot located on the eastbound side of the interstate and struck Fleager as he stood on the ramp.

Fleager was airlifted to Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Ind. Fleager was pronounced dead at the hospital two hours after the accident, around 3 p.m.

The semi, owned by Pitt Ohio Express LLC out of Grove City, Ohio, was hauling paint. The load was coming from Toledo, Ohio, headed to Forest Park, Ill.

Fleager was a rental coordinator for RoadSafe Traffic Systems in Crown Point, Ind. The right lane westbound was closed for approximately three hours during the crash investigation.

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