Fatal wreck on Illinois 3 near Columbia
An accident Tuesday afternoon left one person dead and closed down Illinois 3 in Columbia for several hours, according to police.
The crash occurred at Illinois 3 and Veterans Parkway when a dump truck collided with an SUV at about 12:30 p.m.
Columbia police Chief Jerry Paul said a Columbia family was in the SUV. An adult in the SUV was killed, and the six children in the SUV were taken to the hospital after the crash, which was right in front of Columbia High School.
The dump truck's driver, who is from Millstadt, was also taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries, Paul said.
There were skid marks at the intersection of Veterans Parkway and Illinois 3, about 50 yards away from where the vehicles came to a stop.
Paul said medical helicopters weren't used because the helicopters were too far away, so everyone was taken by ambulance. Family members were at the hospital with the children, Paul said.
"It’s a tragedy," Paul said at the scene of the crash.
Kelly Gruenenfelder Schaaf, of Smithton, told the BND she was driving out of Columbia toward St. Louis on Illinois 3 when, in her rear-view mirror, she saw the crash happen.
"So I just glanced back, and I saw a white dump truck that I had just passed in Columbia go through the intersection that I had just gone through and just T-bone a brownish-gold SUV," she said.
Schaaf said when she had gone through the intersection, the light was yellow.
"My husband was in a car in front of me, and I called him, but he couldn't understand what I was saying because my hands and legs were shaking," she said. "I knew it was terrible."
Illinois State Police's crash reconstruction team was at the scene and using a drone to get footage of the crash's aftermath, and a truck inspector had been on scene earlier to do a safety check on the truck.
The road was re-opened shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Authorities had not released a cause of the accident or the names of those involved as of 10 p.m. Tuesday.
Kara Berg: 618-239-2626, @karaberg95