Truck driver killed in crash on I-94

The driver of a semi-truck was killed Friday morning after his vehicle left westbound I-94 near New Buffalo and hit a tree before catching fire.

NEW BUFFALO — The driver of a semi-truck died Friday morning after the truck ran off the road, hit a tree and burst into flames.

Berrien County Sheriff’s Office Detective/Sgt. Thad Chartrand said it happened just before 9 a.m. on I-94 westbound at mile marker 1 in New Buffalo Township. Two lanes of the three-lane interstate were closed.

As of Friday afternoon, police had not released the name or hometown of the truck driver, the only occupant of the vehicle. 

Chartrand said first responders arrived at the scene to find the semi-truck engulfed in flames and were unable to get to the driver, who died inside the truck. Witnesses told police the truck had hit a guardrail before running off the road. 

It is unknown whether the driver suffered a medical emergency or if there was a mechanical issue causing the truck to run off the road. Chartrand said the driver’s body was taken to Western Michigan University Homer Stryker School of Medicine in Kalamazoo where an autopsy was to be conducted to confirm his identity and determine cause of death.

Police said the truck is registered to Nationwide Truck Brokers of Byron Center, and was hauling clothing for Meijer to Wisconsin. 

Berrien County Sheriff’s road patrol was assisted by Pokagon Tribal Police, New Buffalo Police, New Buffalo Township and Chikaming Township Fire Departments and Medic 1 ambulance. The crash is being investigated by the sheriff’s Accident Investigation Unit.

Contact: jswidwa@TheHP.com, 932-0359, Twitter: @HPSwidwa