Police: Truck driver in triple fatal pileup was reportedly distracted by coffee

He's been charged with multiple counts of reckless homicide.

I-65 Boone County

A truck driver is facing multiple felony charges following a deadly pileup crash in Indiana on Sunday.

The crash was initially reported just after 11 a.m. on Sunday, January 5, in Boone County, Indiana.

When police responded, they found eight passenger vehicles and one semi truck had been involved in a pileup crash on northbound I-65 at mile marker 129 near the Zionsville/Whitestown exit. Some of the vehicles reportedly caught fire after the collision.

Following the crash, 14 people were taken to the hospital for treatment of various injuries.

Three people — a 21 year old woman, a 19 year old woman and one infant — were pronounced dead at the scene.

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The Boone County Sheriff’s Office said that distraction by the truck driver was a suspected factor in the crash. From a news release:

The driver of the semi, 34yo Mathew Lewis Small of Grandville, MI, stated he was northbound I-65 and looked down to set his coffee mug down, when he ran into slowing traffic. It appears Mr. Small collided with all 8 vehicles as he plowed through the back-up.

Police said that following an investigation, Small was charged with three felony counts of reckless homicide and booked into the Boone County Jail.

Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen commented: “A sad day for two Boone County families. The loss of two young women and a one-year old child. Distracted driving or driver inattention is a major cause of many accidents on our public roadways. In this case we believe it was a contributing factor in this fatal crash. The Boone County Sheriff’s Office feels strongly that those that cause death on our public roadways, because of driver inattention, should be held accountable. Mr. Mathew Small was charged with 3 counts of Reckless Homicide by the BCSO Criminal Investigations Division and the Boone County Prosecutors Office. Please pay attention to your driving when operating a motor vehicle. Give yourself plenty of room to have a way out, put down your phone or other objects, DO NOT drive distracted or impaired! Keep these families in your thoughts and prayers.”