Four-car accident creates jam on I-57, injures three

By Eric Heisig

A collision on I-57 Wednesday afternoon sent three people to the area hospitals.

Four cars collided into each other at the 238 mile mark on southbound Interstate 57, about two miles north of I-74, said John Bell, firefighter for Eastern Prairie Fire Protection Department and incident commander for the scene.

Bell said Eastern Prairie received a call about the collision at 4:37 p.m. In all, six fire departments were at the scene, to aid with the victims as well as a gas leak, which was later contained the best they could, Bell said.

Two people were able to walk away from the scene, Bell said.

While the crew was at the scene, one person had to be extricated from their car, which Bell said took about 45 minutes. Two others were considered minor extrications, as it took the crew about 15 minutes to get them out.

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“Extrication is a timely process,” Bell said “Hats off to all the guys on that scene, they worked well together.”

The scene closed down all southbound traffic on I-57 for about two hours.

Bell said that it looked as if the collision was caused by somebody merging when a lane was closing due to upcoming construction.

“It appears that traffic was moving over and somebody didn’t slow down in time,” Bell said.

Check throughout the day for updates on this story.