Man killed in fiery rollover crash on I-80/94 in Gary

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The aftermath of a fatal rollover crash on I-80/94 in Gary early Friday. | Indiana State Police

GARY, Ind. (Sun-Times Media Wire) - A man was killed in a fiery rollover crash on I-80/94 in northwest Indiana early Friday.

Nicholas Alderfer, 25, was killed about 1:10 a.m. after his car rolled across the expressway, according to a statement from the Lake County coroner’s office.

A Ford SUV was weaving in and out of the two left eastbound lanes about a mile-and-a-half east of Burr Street in Gary when it went off the roadway and hit an abandoned or disabled vehicle on the inner shoulder, according to Indiana State Police.

The SUV went airborne, then rolled several times before it caught fire and landed upright in the middle right lane, state police said.

Several people stopped and tried to get the driver out, but were unable to do so, police said.

William Mobley, a truck driver for Crete Carrier/Shaffer Trucking, said he witnessed the crash and pulled over to try to pull the man out of the wreck with about five other people.

The man’s feet were pinned in the car, possibly under the engine block, and they were helpless to watch as he remained trapped in the burning vehicle, Mobley said.

“He just sat there and burned alive for basically an hour,” he said.

Mobley, who lives in Thomasville, Ga., said he and the others who stopped tried using crowbars, fire extinguishers and anything else they had to try to free the man from the wreckage, but it wouldn’t budge.

“I don’t know what else we could’ve done,” he said. “We really, really tried.”

Alderfer, a Hebron, Ind., resident, suffered severe burns and smoke inhalation, and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police and the Lake County coroner’s office.

All eastbound I-80/94 lanes were shut down until 4 a.m. as crews cleared the scene.