PESOTUM, Ill. (WCIA) — It was one accident after another Tuesday afternoon on I-57.
Four people were hurt and one had to be airlifted for life threatening injuries. Two wrecks shut down the interstate between Pesotum and Tuscola.
Pesotum Fire Chief Robert Russian says, “I’ve never seen that much wrecked vehicles in a crash before.”
Smashed cars and emergency crews could be seen on the interstate for hours. Wreck after wreck shut down traffic in both north and southbound lanes for hours. It all started when a motor home burst into flames at around 12:30 Tuesday afternoon.
Russian says, “The motor home on fire caused a backup and then as traffic started to move people have accidents.”
Several crews were able to put out the fire and no one was hurt, so they left the scene. But it wouldn’t be long before they had to go back.
“As soon as they got back to the station, we were toned out for a multiple vehicle rescue.”
Just before 2:00 pm, two semis and three vehicles crashed in the same area of the northbound lane.
“They had to use the rescue tools to do the extrication on one of the cars.”
Two people were badly hurt and taken to the hospital. Another person refused emergency care. Another crash happened shortly after that. Two cars one semi collided in the same area between Tuscola and Pesotum.
“We found a vehicle in the ditch that was fully involved in fire that had been hit by a semi. There was another vehicle involved in that wreck. State troopers, an off duty firefighter, and passers by were actively extricating that person from the vehicle.”
Russian says that person was airlifted to a trauma center with life threatening injuries. Traffic shut down on the northbound lane for almost five hours while state troopers were investigating what happened.
State police say serious and deadly car crashes happen more often in the summer. They’ve had an increase in accidents on I-74. But they’ve always had a problem with accidents on I-57.