Illinois State Police Identify Victims From 70-vehicle Montgomery County Crash
Montgomery County, Illinois (May 8, 2023) – The Illinois State Police have identified more victims of a multivehicle pileup on northbound I–55 between St. Louis and Springfield, Illinois. One victim remains unidentified after dozens of passenger cars and semi-tractor-trailers collided on the northbound side of the interstate.
Reports that visibility was near zero due to dust from nearby farming operations have been confirmed by witnesses. Illinois State Police closed Interstate 55 in Montgomery County for nearly 24 hours to investigate the crashes. Dust again caused closure of the highway the day after the accidents.
Victims identified by the Illinois State Police include an 88-year-old woman from Franklin, Wisconsin, who was a passenger in a vehicle driven by her daughter. Authorities have also identified a couple from Crystal Lake, Illinois and a couple from Champaign, Illinois.
A photographer for Associated Press captured images of burning vehicles amidst the wreckage. Fire damage has made identifying vehicles, drivers, and occupants challenging.
The Illinois State Police have multiple units specially trained to investigate fatal accidents involving large trucks and multiple vehicles. It may be months before a final crash report is completed.
Reports of low visibility due to dust blowing across the interstate between mile markers 76 and 78 made driving conditions dangerous. In low visibility conditions, commercial motor vehicles are required to slow down or cease operation entirely. Whether any tractor-trailer drivers failed to comply with this requirement is unknown but will be a focus of the investigation. Authorities report that area farmers may have contributed to the dust clouds that rolled across the interstate and reduced visibility.
Insurance companies and motor carriers operating trucks in the area reportedly had representatives at the crash scene gathering information, assessing their potential liability and collecting favorable evidence. Drivers of passenger cars will depend on the State Police and investigators hired by their own attorneys to collect evidence that could help them in the event a lawsuit is filed.
Interstate 55 reopened to northbound traffic on May 2, 2023.
The many crashes on I-55 will lead to lawsuits involving these serious injuries and deaths. The defendants can include drivers of passenger cars, drivers of trucks, motor carriers, brokers, shippers, and even farmers whose tilling and cultivating reportedly caused the dust clouds. Cases involving limited visibility, multiple defendants, multiple vehicles, and commercial trucks are complex and best handled by attorneys with experience dealing with motor carrier regulations. Konicek & Dillon P.C. has the experience and resources needed to handle these matters well. To the victims of these horrible crashes, we offer our condolences and assistance.