Update: May 19th
Illinois State Police and the Sangamon County Coroner says one more person has died as a result of injuries from the crash.
Update 7:22 p.m.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Illinois State Police officials said Tuesday afternoon that the death toll of Monday’s massive crash on Interstate 55 is now at seven with the discovery of new remains.
Six people were initially reported dead at the scene of the crash on Monday. However, officials said that the severity of the disaster caused responders to believe that two sets of remains were actually one person.
ISP is working closely with the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office to confirm the identification of the seven deceased individuals and information will be released once identification is complete and proper notifications have been made.
For those who were involved the crashes, ISP said many vehicles will be released beginning May 3, 2023 at 8 a.m. If you were traveling south on I-55 prior to the crash, please call 217-685-4354to arrange pickup for your vehicle.
If you were traveling north on I-55 prior to the crash, please call 618-346-3653 to arrange pickup for your vehicle. Some, but not all, vehicles traveling northbound on I-55 will be released.
The stretch of I-55 where the crash happened was temporarily closed again on Tuesday afternoon because of concerns over another dust storm blinding drivers again.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Illinois State Police have scheduled a press conference Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m. to share the latest updates on the aftermath of the 72-vehicle Interstate 55 crash that killed six.
The road reopened around 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, but ISP Director Brendan Kelly urges to drivers to be aware of road conditions, slow down and drive safe and be aware of the weather.
“At any time you’re on the highways and byways of this state or any state, you need to be aware of your surroundings; you need to drive in a way that is safe for the conditions,” Kelly said. “If conditions change, you need to change the way that you drive.”
ISP said they have identified one person who died as 88-year-old Shirley Harper of Franklin, WI. Officials said they also have tentative identities for three more of the people who died Monday in the dust cloud crash.
State Police officials are asking for the public’s help in identifying the two unidentified fatalities. One unknown fatality was an adult found in a blue Chrysler 300, the other adult was found in a Hyundai. If you have any information, officials ask you to call 618-346-3653.
ISP Lt. Col Chris Owen was one of the state troopers who responded to the scene.
“Our goal upon arrival is immediately life safety, getting to the injured, trying to get them to emergency medical care and shutting down the roadway to prevent additional crashes,” Owen said. “What you found was very brave state troopers and other law enforcement personnel and emergency personnel arriving on a scene, where they could not see and taking immediate action.”
ISP is investigating the crash, but they are not sure if they are pressing any criminal charges.
“We’re going to try to connect as many dots as we can and see if there’s anything we can learn from that, but without jumping to any conclusions,” Kelly said. “If and when there’s something that warrants [criminal charges], we’ll certainly share that with the public, but no way are we anywhere near that type of conclusion.”