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Semi wreck closes I-70, damages solar field

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A semi-truck crashed into the Henry County REMC solar array Monday night.Partial electrical generation from the site was expected to be restored Tuesday.
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Approximately 150 feet of fencing and three rows of solar array panels and accompanying equipment were damage by a semi that drove off Interstate 70 Monday night.

Courier-Times Staff Report

A crash between two semi trucks Monday night turned Interstate 70 into a parking lot in Henry County.

According to the Henry County Sheriff’s Department, westbound traffic was stopped on I-70 mile around 9:45 p.m. Monday due to an earlier wreck.

Investigating officers reported semi-driver Manjit Singh, 51 off Hicksville, NY, allegedly failed to slow down as he approached the stopped traffic.

Singh crashed into the trailer of a semi driven by Jeremy Lamano, 47 of Avon, Illinois, which was stopped near mile marker 124.

After colliding with Lamano’s trailer, Singh reportedly left the north side of the roadway into a ditch, proceeding through a metal fence line and into the Henry County REMC solar field.

The incident report stated the read tandem of Lamano’s trailer was removed by the crash.

According to the report, Lamano’s semi-truck was driveable, but the trailer’s rear was destroyed.

Neither driver reported any injuries.

“Unsafe Speed” was noted as the primary cause of the crash.

Deputies issued Singh a summons for misdemeanor reckless operation of a tractor/vehicle combination.

Both westbound lanes of I-70 were shut down at 10 p.m. for the accident investigation and scene clean up.

According to the sheriff’s department, one lane was reopened around 12:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Henry County REMC reported Tuesday afternoon that several solar panels received “significant damaged” from the wreck.

REMC spokesperson Lara Sullivan said preliminary reports estimated 150 feet of fencing and three rows of array panels and accompanying equipment were damaged.

Henry County REMC, RushShelby Energy and Whitewater Valley REMC worked with Hoosier Energy in 2015 to bring the solar array to the Henry County area.

Hoosier Energy representatives were working at the crash site Tuesday to further assess the damage and secure the area, Sullivan said.

Partial electrical generation from the site was expected to be restored Tuesday.