A local business owner is rallying the community this Wednesday in an effort to support two Staunton families after two sisters died and another woman was critically injured in an Interstate 55 crash last week near Hamel.
The Dairy Queen on Herman Road in Staunton will give all of its Blizzards sales from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. to the Bertels and Carrol families, according to a post on Facebook.
Madisen was a senior at Staunton High School and her sister was a 2015 alumna, according to a prior interview with Superintendent Dan Cox. Hailey was a junior at Murray State University studying communications disorders.
A public memorial service will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday in the Staunton High School gym.
Tori Carrol, also a 2015 Staunton High School graduate, was critically injured in the crash.
Coined the Blizzard Benefit, the proceeds will go to the families to help with their expenses.
“Remember the more Blizzards we sell, the more money we will raise for the families,” the post read. “Every employee on our staff will be working that day to help serve you in the quickest manner possible.”
Illinois State Police are still investigating the crash that killed the sisters and another woman, Vivian Vu, of Joplin, Missouri.
A tractor-trailer driven by a 53-year-old Colorado man crashed into seven vehicles on Interstate 55 at about 6 p.m. Nov. 21.
As of Monday afternoon, police were still investigating what caused the truck driver to crash into those vehicles.
Eleven other people were injured in the crash near mile post 27, just south of Hamel.
A GoFundMe page set up for the Bertels family had raised almost $25,000 as of Tuesday morning.
“We are anticipating long lines, but remember what you will be doing to help the families. Thank you for your support,” the Dairy Queen post stated.