Dearborn County woman raises concerns about Indiana Route 1 after another trucker crash

Crews wrangling hogs on Rt. 1 near Lawrenceburg
Posted at 6:16 AM, Nov 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-21 19:33:50-05

DEARBORN COUNTY, Ind. -- Kathy Laaker has lived along Indiana Route 1 for more than 25 years. She's grown used to truck traffic whizzing by a few yards from her front door.

"I've seen three accidents right here in my own yard," she said, "and one -- if anybody had been out of the house, we would have gotten run over."

She wants to know what can be done to make the highway safer.

Truckers use her stretch of Route 1 as a short cut, or, in some cases, to avoid weigh scales at the state line. The highway runs between Interstate 275 in Greendale and Interstate 74 in St. Leon, a distance of 14 miles. A sign cautions truckers against using Route 1 as a cut-through, but they're not prohibited.

"We need the truck drivers, but it looks like there should be another way on (Route 1)," Laaker said. "(Route) 1 is too small. Even the cars have trouble -- going by fast."

A crash Monday was just 100 yards from her home: A truck carrying 77 hogs went off the road and overturned. Many of the animals got loose; the crash killed seven, while seven others were put down. Route 1 was closed for 11 hours.

Laaker knows the highway can be deadly for people, too: Her husband and brother died in a head-on crash in 1970, long before the road was improved to its current condition.

Route 1 could be more heavily regulated is if the county took it over, Dearborn County Sheriff's Capt. Gaylord Hartsburg said. But he added that taking over an entire highway would be a burden on the county government.

The road is the main thoroughfare to Perfect North Slopes. For the ski season, it's crucial Route 1 remains open because alternate routes aren't great options.

"Any time we have to deflect traffic into the smaller communities, we don't like to do that," Perfect North's Tim Doll said.

Monday's was second crash on Route 1 in the past three weeks involving a hog truck. And truck carrying horses overturned in the same area a few years ago.

"I wish somebody could do something about it," Laaker said, "because people are getting killed here."