Belleville firefighters and police had their fill of car crashes Thursday, handling a total of four wrecks in six hours that sent at least seven people to area hospitals.
Belleville Fire Chief Tom Pour said crews were dispatched to South Jackson and Van Buren streets shortly before 1:30 p.m. for a rollover crash involving two SUVs.
It appeared at the scene that a Ford SUV T-boned a GMC SUV, causing the GMC to flip. Pour said firefighters rescued the driver of the GMC, who was hanging by her seatbelt upside-down in the vehicle, and took her to a hospital. Other details were unavailable.
Earlier Thursday, three crashes that occurred within a half-hour sent six people to the hospital.
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About 8:30 a.m., a Chevrolet Malibu and a Jeep Grand Cherokee collided in the middle of the intersection of Mascoutah Avenue and Green Mount Road. The woman driving the Malibu had to be extricated.
Belleville Fire Department battalion chief Randy Schield said the woman wasn’t entangled in the wreck, but she was cut out of the car so she could be placed on a back-board without having to drag her out over the center console. She was taken to a hospital, but Schield said her injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.
Shortly after 8 a.m., three vehicles collided on Illinois 15 at the Richland Creek bridge and left one vehicle teetering on the guard rail, nearly falling over the edge. The crash happened in a construction area where the highway was restricted from four lanes to two, one in each direction.
“Fortunately, all the vehicles involved stayed on the roadway, but not by much,” Pour said. Four people were taken to local hospitals after the crash.
Another three vehicles collided in the westbound lanes of Illinois 15 near Eckert’s Country Store when a vehicle rear-ended another that was stopped in the traffic jam caused by the crash at the Richland Creek bridge. One person was taken to a local hospital.
Reports initially indicated that the crash involved a school bus, but Belle Valley School District Superintendent Lou Obernueffemann said that was not the case. A bus full of students headed for a field trip was in the area, he said. But the bus was not involved in the crash and was only tied up in the traffic jam following the accident.
Belleville Township High School District 201 Assistant Superintendent Brian Mentzer said his district also had a bus caught up in the traffic jam, but it was not involved in the crash.