Two south suburban men trying to evade a police officer at a traffic stop ended up in the hospital instead after their car slammed into a vehicle on an I-65 off-ramp in northwest Indiana on Monday afternoon.
About 3:13 p.m., a Hobart police officer working a Domestic Highway Enforcement project on I-65 near Rensselaer, Ind., stopped a 2015 Malibu on southbound I-65 near State Road 114 for a traffic violation, according to Indiana State Police.
But when the officer approached the vehicle, it sped off, exited I-65 at the Rensselaer exit (SR 14) “at a high rate of speed and passed several cars on the shoulder of the ramp” to evade the officer, according to ISP.
The car then tried to turn at the top of the ramp onto SR 114, but, “it was going too fast, slid through the intersection, and hit gravel. This caused the Malibu to continue to slide when it hit a 1998 Kenworth pulling a tanker broadside,” ISP said.
The truck had been stopped on eastbound on SR 114 awaiting a left turn onto the I-65 southbound ramp.
After hitting the semi, the driver, later identified as Keo Hardin, 23 of Markham; and his passenger, Maurice McKinnis, 22 of Markham, got out of the car and ran toward the rear of the semi, where they were found “lying on the ground” by the officer.
Witnesses and the officer positively identified Hardin as the driver, ISP said.
The semi, owned by Null Tank Lines out of Lafayette, Ind., was empty at the time, but had to be towed from the scene. The driver, a Lafayette man, was not not injured.
Hardin and McKinnis were taken to Jasper County Hospital in Rensselaer, from where Hardin was later airlifted to Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis with internal injuries, ISP said. McKinnis was later released from the hospital.
Hobart and Indiana State Police said charges are pending.
Two Markham men were injured when their car crashed into a semi on the off ramp from I-65 to SR 114 in Rensselaer, Ind., on Monday afternoon. | Indiana State Police