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5 People Killed, Trucker Charged in I-55 Crash


On Monday, five people were killed and four others were injured after a truck headed northbound on Interstate 55 in Elwood, Illinois, slammed into stalled traffic, causing a chain reaction of collisions.

Minutes later about three miles away on I-55, a fifth person was killed in another accident involving two trucks.

The owner-operator with Espinal Trucking, 51-year-old- Fransisco Espinal-Quiroz, of Leesburg, Indiana, was arrested Tuesday and charged with falsifying his logs and willful violation of a log book. He was also cited for failing to reduce speed.

According to witnesses, the truck driver allegedly entered into the construction zone about 2:30 p.m., then barely slowed down as he slammed into the passenger car in front of him, causing three vehicles and another tractor-trailer to crash into each other.

Those who were killed in the crash include Kimberly K. Britton, 43, and Piper Britton, 11, both from Urbana, Vicky L. Palacios, 54, of Coal City and Ulkrike P. Blopeh, 48 of Channahon. Four other people were injured in the crash, one of whom was airlifted to a local hospital.

Espinal-Quiroz was given a mandatory drug and alcohol test after the wreck. He is due in bond court Tuesday.

Approximately 15 minutes after the crash and about three miles to the north, a second fatal accident involving two trucks in the southbound lanes of I-55 near U.S. Route 6 sent both drivers to the hospital.

In this incident, a truck hit another truck from behind. One of the drivers, Devidas Mockus, 41, of Darien, was pronounced dead at the hospital.




Photo Credit: Lane V. Erickson / Shutterstock.com


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