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Police still investigating why 53-year-old trucker didn’t stop in crash that killed 3

Staunton community dealing with tragedy after sisters are killed

Staunton school officials talk about the tragedy, and how they are helping students and community heal after the death of two of their own.
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Staunton school officials talk about the tragedy, and how they are helping students and community heal after the death of two of their own.

Illinois State Police are still investigating a crash that killed three women that occurred near Hamel earlier this week, an official said Friday.

A tractor-trailer driven by a 53-year-old man from Colorado crashed into seven vehicles on Interstate 55 at about 6 p.m. Tuesday. Police have yet to release the man’s name.

Calvin Dye, a spokesman for the Illinois State Police, said “we are still investigating why he didn’t slow down or stop.”

vu
Vivian Vu, a sophomore at Missouri Southern State University, died Thursday from injuries suffered in an eight-vehicle crash on Interstate 55, near Hamel. Provided

Vivian Vu, 19, of Joplin, Mo., died Thursday from injuries sustained in the crash. Sisters Hailey Bertels, 20, and Madisen Bertels, 17, both of Staunton, died at the scene of the crash.

Hailey Bertels
Hailey Bertels, 20, of Staunton, was killed along with her sister in a car crash Wednesday on Interstate 55 near Hamel. Provided

“It’s a miracle there weren’t more fatalities at that crash scene,” Dye said. “When you show up and multiple vehicles are totaled or crushed by a semi, and you hear people conscious and talking as they are being extricated by firefighters, that’s a miracle.”

Maddie Bertels
Madisen Bertels, 17, of Staunton, was killed in a car crash Wednesday on Interstate 55 near Staunton. Provided

A GoFundMe page set up for the Bertels’ family had raised $22,000 as of Friday afternoon.

Eleven other people were injured in the crash near mile post 27, just south of Hamel. Witnesses told Illinois State Police that the semi started “crashing into other vehicles at highway speed,” Dye previously said.

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