A tragic incident occurred in central Illinois when a truck overturned, resulting in five fatalities and five individuals sustaining serious injuries. The crash also led to a hazardous substance leaking from the truck’s cargo, prompting a response from authorities and an evacuation of nearby residents.
Effingham County Coroner Kim Rhodes identified the victims, which included three individuals from the same family, consisting of one adult and two children under the age of 12. The other two victims were adult motorists from out of state. Additionally, five individuals were airlifted to area hospitals, although their conditions remain unknown.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced that it will review the crash, which took place on U.S. Highway 40, approximately half a mile east of Teutopolis. Illinois State Police reported that the accident involved multiple vehicles and occurred late on a Friday. The overturned truck was carrying a toxic substance identified as anhydrous ammonia.
Due to the ammonia leak, authorities ordered an evacuation within approximately a one-mile radius of the crash site, including northeastern parts of Teutopolis. Emergency responders were working diligently to contain the leak, and the situation was compounded by shifting winds during the response efforts.
Effingham County Sheriff Paul Kuhns expressed condolences for the multiple fatalities and acknowledged the challenges responders faced in dealing with the dangerous ammonia cloud. He noted that emergency personnel had to wait until conditions were mitigated before they could fully engage in their response efforts.
The incident is currently under investigation by the NTSB, which will seek to determine the exact circumstances surrounding the crash and the chemical leak. The tragedy has deeply affected the community, and authorities are working to provide support to those affected by the incident.