NEOGA, Ill. (WCIA) — Two people are dead and another two are injured after a crash on I-57 Sunday evening.
The crash happened at mile marker 173 south of Neoga at approximately 5:30 p.m. Illinois State Police officials said a semi-truck traveling northbound rear-ended a car that had four people inside.
The two passengers in the back of the car both died in the crash. The Neoga Fire Protection District said on its Facebook page that one of them died at the scene and the other was not in a condition to be airlifted. They subsequently died in the back of an ambulance heading for the hospital.
The driver and front-seat passenger were airlifted from the scene in critical condition, Neoga Fire added. The driver of the semi-truck was not hurt.
“These calls are never easy and we can never be fully prepared for what we may come up on when arriving on scene,” Neoga Fire said. “We appreciate all of the mutual aid from AirEvac, Arch/Air Methods and Airlife.”
While most of the medical flight units came from Effingham and Mattoon, one unit had to come from Champaign due to a helicopter being grounded on-scene. Neoga Fire said litter from a ditch on-scene was sucked into the engine, requiring an inspection before the helicopter could fly again.
Northbound lanes on I-57 were closed for nearly six hours, with traffic being diverted off the highway at the I-57 split near Effingham. The highway reopened around 11:30 p.m.
Neoga Fire also thanked a number of nurses and medics who happened to be in the traffic backup and who left their cars to help.