•  Pinetar
  • 87.34% (Honored)
  • Operations Foreman Topic Starter
Wednesday, September 19, 2007 4:06:02 AM
One killed in fiery crash

09/18/2007, 10:48 am
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Donovan Estridge, 1-866-362-2167 Ext. 13865 ,

KINGSBURY -- An Ohio man is dead following a fiery collision between two semi trucks at the intersection of U.S. 6 and U.S. 35 Monday evening.

Donald Whitmer, 44, of Carrollton, Ohio, died immediately when his truck, traveling east on U.S. 35 and carrying steel coils, collided with another truck carrying a carnival ride, La Porte County Chief Deputy Coroner John Sullivan told The La Porte County Herald-Argus this morning.

Whitmer’s truck was registered with D.L. Belknap Trucking out of Paris, Ohio.

Jeffrey Dickinson, 28, of Granbury, Texas, was reportedly attempting to turn east onto U.S. 6 when the accident occurred. Traffic on U.S. 6 has the right of way at the intersection, which does not have a traffic light.

The accident occurred when Dickinson failed to yield to Whitmer’s truck while attempting to turn east onto U.S. 6, according to police.

Tests on Dickinson, who witnesses said had two passengers in his cab, revealed no alcohol. Dickinson was not injured and police have no record of passengers.

A blood test is pending for Whitmer.

The impact of the collision pushed the truck carrying the amusement ride into the median and ignited the fuel tanks on Whitmer’s truck, sparking a chain of explosions that incinerated the vehicle with Whitmer inside, La Porte County Sheriff Mike Mollenhauer told The La Porte County Herald-Argus at the scene.

“It is one of the worst accidents here in a while,” Mollenhauer said.

Mollenhauer said the initial dispatch placed the accident at the south junction of U.S. 6 and U.S. 35, near Union Center, but he almost immediately knew it must have occurred at the north junction, near Kingsbury.

“I saw the smoke from Boyd (Boulevard) and knew it had to be here,” he said. The crash occurred at about 5:15 p.m.

Although first responders arrived on the scene only minutes after the crash, it was too late to save Whitmer.

“We might never know if it was trauma or the fire that killed him,” Sullivan said. “You just hope and pray he didn’t burn to death. No one wants to see someone die like that.”

Eyewitnesses described a chain of explosions that sent plumes of smoke hundreds of feet into the air.

“I saw the trucks hit and I floored it to get out of there,” Dana Wilhelm, of Kingsford Heights, told The Herald-Argus at the scene. “Three people in the (amusement) truck ran out of there immediately. Other people began to run, then we heard the explosions. I am just freaking out right now.”

  •  42WLA
  • 55.22% (Neutral)
  • Ride Supervisor
Wednesday, September 19, 2007 4:18:30 AM
Tragic report. Not much good there, at least there were survivors.
I have done so much,with so little,for so long,I am now qualified to do anything with nothing!
Disney Fan
  •  rhino
  • 64.76% (Friendly)
  • Operations Foreman
Wednesday, September 19, 2007 5:24:05 AM
Wednesday, September 19, 2007 6:13:17 AM
Sorry to hear of such a bad accident but at least there were survivers. I've seen it a million times when someone pulls out in front of you. They don't realise how fast a vehicle at 50-60mph closes up on you.
Lets see LaPorte is below Michigan City Indiana so it had to be a show some where in that area.
<h5>"If you cant run with the BIG dogs stay on the porch"</h5>

  •  flamo
  • 87.94% (Honored)
  • Operations Foreman
Wednesday, September 19, 2007 7:44:55 AM
Did any local media report it? Seems like all the rest get reported.
I'm there, Old, Tired, Broke and Henpecked
  •  Pinetar
  • 87.34% (Honored)
  • Operations Foreman Topic Starter
Thursday, September 20, 2007 3:26:06 AM
Thursday, September 20, 2007 3:53:04 AM
Gallery of photos from the local paper: 

Tilt looks pretty distinctive, someone should be able to identify whose it is: 
"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." - Lao-Tsu

"Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." - Martin Luther King Jr.

"Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly." - Robert F. Kennedy
  •  flamo
  • 87.94% (Honored)
  • Operations Foreman
Thursday, September 20, 2007 6:40:04 AM
Thanks for the links.... A sad day................
I'm there, Old, Tired, Broke and Henpecked
Friday, September 21, 2007 7:41:31 AM
Anyone find out whos show owned the tilt??
<h5>"If you cant run with the BIG dogs stay on the porch"</h5>

Saturday, September 22, 2007 7:07:00 PM
The Tilt in this tragic accident belonged to an IN based show--Top Notch Amusements. I have a photo of this ride racked on the LaGrange
Co., IN fairgrounds that I took this past July. I compared the paint job on the Tilt tubs to my photo to confirm the identity before posting. From the photos it looks like the trailer & some of the racked ride parts were damaged--with some of the parts laying on the road. Hopefully, they were salvaged by the show. It is a very well maintained & neatly painted ride--racked or set up.
  •  Ryan
  • 57.38% (Neutral)
  • Lot Foreman
Saturday, September 22, 2007 7:31:10 PM
top notch amusments, driver had just left the valpo expo park, proably only 20 minutes into his trip. 
"If life was fair elvis would be alive and the impersonators would be dead"-carson
The Dude
Saturday, September 22, 2007 8:25:37 PM
Very sad!!!

Its always sad when ya hear of some fair having something like this happen......
Sunday, September 23, 2007 6:25:59 AM
Stickjoint said he was Driving with no CDL? oh oh his azz is grass now if thats true...
<h5>"If you cant run with the BIG dogs stay on the porch"</h5>

Sunday, September 23, 2007 12:33:15 PM
Wow that must have been one helluva collision to throw those jackstands that far from the trailer!I am not real familiar with the way a tilt racks but dont the jackstands mount in front of the bullplates?