CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — The man accused of causing a crash that shut down part of the interstate, is now facing felony charges. Jess Plunkett of Paragould, Arkansas has been charged with 2 counts of Aggravated Driving under the Influence of Drugs. Both charges are punishable by up to 12 years in prison, for driving a semi truck while under the influence of any drug or combination of drugs and causing a motor vehicle accident that resulted in great bodily harm to another.
The crash happened about 2:00 PM Tuesday (5/8/18) on I-57N near Pesotum. Plunkett was driving a semi truck and rear ended three passenger vehicles and the trailer of another truck. One victim was taken to Carle Hospital, where it was determined he suffered a broken vertebrae and required surgery. A second victim was treated and released from Carle and a third went to the hospital for treatment on her own.
Plunkett admitted to State Police he smoked marijuana and snorted crushed pills in Memphis before the crash. The results of chemical testing have not yet been obtained.
Troopers arrested Plunkett for a misdemeanor DUI, however the State’s Attorney’s Office reviewed the matter upon learning of the serious injuries and determined that felony charges were appropriate.
The State’s Attorney’s Office also reviewed Plunkett’s criminal history and obtained information that Plunkett was convicted of DUI in Joplin, Missouri, in 1998.