TOWN OF PINES – A Michigan City man was critically injured when he was struck by a semi truck while walking along U.S. 20 just west of the county line on Friday.
The Porter County Sheriff's Department identified the victim as 31-year-old Anthony Roots, and said he was apparently hitchhiking when he was struck near Ardendale Avenue, about a mile west of County Line Road in the Town of Pines.
About 2:30 p.m. Friday, Roots was walking along the north side of the highway when he was struck by a westbound semi, police said. The semi driver swerved left and attempted to brake just before Roots was struck, police said.
A man driving past, who had some type of medical training, stopped to help the victim until first responders arrived and another passer-by called 911.
Lauryn Bowen, who lives in the Town of Pines, was driving nearby when she came upon the scene shortly after the crash.
"I drove up as the semi was hitting his breaks after the man was hit," she said. "According to the driver he jumped in front of him. I was the one who called 911."
She said Roots was awake but incoherent.
"He was alive and shaking, but wasn't able to speak," she said. "It was all just mumbles."
Bowen said she stayed at the scene; and Beverly Shores Police and Fire Rescue units got there to treat the man, followed shortly by sheriff's police, and La Porte and Porter county EMS units.
"I live in the area so I wasn't far away and kept an eye on the situation until it cleared."
The sheriff's department said a good Samaritan with medical training stopped to help before ambulances arrived.
Bowen said it was a former first responder.
"Dale Powell was one of the other people who made it to the scene," she said. "He used to be a first responder and he's actually the one who took his own shirt off his back and put it to the guy's head to stop it from bleeding."
EMS units treated Roots at the scene until he was airlifted by Memorial Medflight to Memorial Hospital in South Bend, according to the sheriff's department.
The hospital did not respond to a request for a condition update on Tuesday, but a family member posted on Facebook that Roots was in ICU, and apparently going to be OK.
U.S. 20 was closed in both directions after the crash, and remained closed for more than two hours, police said. The accident remains under investigation.
Indiana State Police and the Washington Township Volunteer Fire Department also assisted at the scene.