Illinois State Police investigated a traffic crash Wednesday on Interstate 55 in East St. Louis that set a car on fire and sent two drivers to the hospital.
Laverne Verdeyen Sr., 80, of Effingham, and Kristi L. Helmkamp, 38, of Wood River, both were injured in the two vehicle crash and transported by MedStar Ambulance to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, according to police.
Verdeyen was in critical condition, and Helmkamp had been discharged from the hospital by Wednesday evening, said Barnes-Jewis Hospital spokeswoman Jennifer Arvin.
Verdeyen, driving a Ford Taurus, and Helmkamp, driving a Toyota Prius, were traveling southbound on I-55 in the center lane near mile post 5.2 about 8:20 a.m. Verdeyen's vehicle was directly behind Helmkamp's vehicle.
Police said Helmkamp reduced her speed for heavy traffic, and Verdeyen's car struck Helmkamp's car from behind. Helmkamp was able to steer her vehicle onto the left shoulder of the interstate and exit it before it caught fire, according to police.
Verdeyen was cited by police for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.