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Semi injures 2 workers on I-69

Two construction workers were seriously injured in a crash involving a semi Thursday on Interstate 69 in Steuben County, the sheriff’s department said.

The workers, Brandon Morris of Columbia City and Ted Cook of Marion, were in the bucket of a hydraulic lift about 1:30 p.m. as they worked on the bridge that carries County Road 325 West over the interstate south of Angola, the sheriff’s department said.

The overpass has been under construction since the summer, causing occasional lane closures. On Thursday, a construction crew was removing the bridge’s support braces that were over the southbound lanes, police said.

At the time of the crash, the southbound driving lane was closed. The lift was parked in the driving lane, and the bucket, with Morris and Cook inside, was raised to the bridge. The crew was working to remove a support brace that was above the passing lane, which was open to traffic, the sheriff’s department said.

Adam Sparks of Indianapolis was driving a semi south in the passing lane. He told police he slowed down for the construction workers and was going under the bridge when he heard the truck hit something. Sparks then drove past the construction site, turned around and returned to the crash scene, the sheriff’s department said.

An investigation found that the top, passenger-side corner of the semi trailer struck the bottom corner of the bucket, which was about 13 feet above the road. Morris fell from the bucket onto the road, and Cook stayed in the bucket.

The men were taken to Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne. They were both in serious to critical condition, the sheriff’s department said.

Sparks, who was not cited, told police he did not see the bucket of the lift before the crash. Pioneer Associates of Albion was in charge of the construction. A phone message left for the company was not returned Thursday evening.

The crash remains under investigation.