TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — A ninth person has died this year in a crash along a stretch of interstate in western Indiana that saw only one fatal crash last year.

The accident was the year’s fifth fatal crash along a 60-mile portion of Interstate 70 between Illinois and Hendricks County, Indiana, The Tribune Star reported . Police said most of the accidents have occurred near construction zones and involved drivers failing to reduce speed when approaching stopped or slowed traffic.

The latest crash killed 25-year-old Missouri resident Kaylie Real, who died Sunday at Terre Haute Regional Hospital. Her 4-year-old son was also taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

An Indiana State Police report said Real failed to reduce speed while merging near a construction zone on I-70 and crashed into a tractor-trailer. The driver of the truck wasn’t injured.

State troopers and Terre Haute police have increased patrols on the interstate with a focus on construction zones. Other causes of the recent accidents have been drivers following too closely, inattention or distraction, police said.

Crashes along the same stretch of highway resulted in five fatalities in 2015, and seven in 2014, according to the Indiana State Police.

The solution to this year’s spike in accidents may be to widen the highway to three lanes, said state Rep. Clyde Kersey of Terre Haute.

“We have too much traffic between Indianapolis and Terre Haute on I-70,” Kersey said, and noted that distracted driving is also an issue. “When they have to get them into one lane due to construction, it’s a mess. Everything would be fine if people would follow directions and get into one lane.”

A spokeswoman for the Indiana Department of Transportation said no timelines have been set yet for adding a lane to I-70, but she noted the governor has said adding a lane and other infrastructure projects were a priority.

“One life lost on a roadway is one too many,” she said.


Information from: Tribune-Star, http://www.tribstar.com