Coroner identifies semi truck driver killed in crash


The semi driver was one of three people killed

MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA) — Families are mourning the loss of three people killed in a crash yesterday. It happened just south of Mattoon on I-57 by milepost 183.

Investigators say the crash happened because one driver failed to stop for traffic backup from another crash on I-57 around 3:11 p.m. by milepost 188. That driver hit three others around 3:30 p.m. Eventually, six vehicles were involved and three people killed.

“Our officers were on scene for quite some time, just to make sure traffic was deterred in certain directions,” said Coles County Chief Deputy Tyler Heleine. Those officers were called to both scenes to help state police.

“It’s really important to not only follow the speed limit, but to give yourself plenty of space between you and the car in front of you,” said Heleine.

Andrzej Poprawa from Florida was one of the three victims.

Andrzej Poprawa, provided by family

His daughter, Patrycja, describes him as kind, loving and energetic. She says he is from Poland and had been living in Florida for the past ten years. “He was always willing to do anything for me and my sister and my mom to make us happy. Avoided many accidents in the past by steering clear and saving others as he was always traveling.”

The Coles County Coroner’s office is still not releasing the names of the two others. Officers say this tragedy serves as a reminder to always be aware when driving on the interstate.

“If you take your eyes off the roadway and you’re speeding, your ability to get stopped in time is greatly reduced,” said Heleine.

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