Fatal I-55 Truck Accident South Of Hamel Involving Eight Vehicles

Accidents involving trucks continue to receive considerable attention due to many reasons.  These accidents often cause serious accident injuries to those involved, due to the weight of the trucks as well as the speed at which truck accidents typically occur.  As well, the subject of truck driver safety continues to receive attention, as many fatal Illinois truck accidents have happened after truck drivers have either fallen asleep while driving or have been inattentive while driving due to fatigue.  Truck drivers can become “drowsy” and inattentive if they drive for extended periods between rest periods.

While the underlying cause of the following fatal Illinois truck accident has not yet been publicly disclosed, the accident highlights the possible severity of a semi truck accident.

The accident occurred Tuesday night (November 21, 2017) on Interstate 55 (I-55) south of Hamel.  The crash involved eight vehicles, with two people being killed in the crash and twelve people injured.  A third person later died from accident injuries.  The accident happened after a truck failed to slow down for traffic that had slowed due to construction that was happening south of the accident scene.  That truck then collided with the other vehicles.

According to information provided by the Illinois State Police (ISP), the accident occurred at approximately 6:15 p.m., in the southbound lanes of I-55 at the 27.5 mile post.

An excerpt regarding the crash, from the stltoday.com article (with remembrances) of November 23, 2017, titled “Sisters from Staunton killed in I-55 crash when trucker plows into traffic“:

Several witnesses told investigators a southbound semi truck traveling an estimated 60 mph had struck seven vehicles, running over some of them, Trooper Calvin Dye said. Several patients had to be rescued from their vehicles after the crash.

Dye, the trooper, said he didn’t know specifics about which car was hit first. He said they were all heading the same direction. None of the vehicles was stopped or slowed in traffic before being struck, Dye said.

“This was probably the worst crash a lot of us on the scene have ever been on,” Dye said. “The number of cars. Everywhere you turned and looked, there was another smashed-in, totaled vehicle.”

The sisters that were killed in the crash were identified as Madisen N. Bertels, 17, and her sister Hailey Joann Bertels, 20, of Staunton. They were traveling in a 2010 Kia Forte at the time of the crash.

In addition to these fatalities, twelve people were also injured, with two of those injured being critically injured.  One of those injured, identified as Vivian Vu, age 19, of Joplin, Missouri, died on Thursday.

The truck driver, identified as a 53-year-old man, survived the crash.

Additional details and possible updates concerning this fatal crash can be seen in a variety of media sources, including the article mentioned above as well as the November 22 bnd.com article (with video) titled “Staunton IL sisters killed in fatal car crash near Hamel IL” as well as the November 24 The Telegraph article titled “Separate I-55 accidents claim four lives; one in critical condition.”


Should you be involved in a vehicle accident, there are certain actions you should take in order to protect your rights. Elman Joseph Law Group, LLC has compiled a reference document titled “10 Steps You Should Follow After an Auto Accident.”

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Should you be involved in a car accident, there are certain actions you should take in order to protect your rights. You should not assume – especially without proper legal representation – that you will receive appropriate compensation for your injuries, hardships and/or losses. To speak directly with a trial lawyer from Elman Joseph Law Group, LLC immediately, call (773) 392-8182 at any time. There is no fee for this consultation.

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