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2 truckers die in seven-vehicle crash on I-57 in Illinois

Interstate 57 near West Frankfort, Ill., was closed for several hours Thursday as the result of a seven-vehicle crash in which two truck drivers died. (Associated Press: BENTON EVENING NEWS/DI WINSTON)

The Associated Press

7/16/2010

WEST FRANKFORT, Ill.—Authorities are investigating what caused a fiery, seven-vehicle crash on a southern Illinois freeway that killed two people and hospitalized three others.

Illinois State Police said four tractor-trailers were involved in the accident about 2 p.m. Thursday on Interstate 57, north of West Frankfort, which is located some 66 miles north of the Illinois-Missouri border.

State Trooper David Sneed said the vehicles were stopped near a construction zone when one of the semi rigs slammed into the line of traffic, causing a chain-reaction wreck. Two tractor-trailers hauling asphalt then failed to stop and hit the other vehicles from behind.

Sneed said an SUV, along with two pickup trucks and a flatbed semi hauling truck chassis were stopped in traffic in the northbound lane of the interstate when a tractor-trailer — a dump trailer hauling car batteries — failed to stop, causing the initial crash.

According to Franklin County Coroner Marty Leffler, Carl James Jones Jr. 51, of Florissant, Mo., and Randy Reynolds, 54, of Herrin, Ill., died in the accident.

Leffler said Jones was driving the truck hauling car batteries.

Police said Reynolds failed to stop, striking the stopped rig being driven by Jones before bursting into flames. 8

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