Metro-East News

Semi crash spills tomatoes on roadway, backs up traffic for miles on I-57

Two semis were involved in a crash near Ina on Monday morning.
Two semis were involved in a crash near Ina on Monday morning. Jefferson Fire Protection District

A two tractor-trailer crash spilled tomatoes on Interstate 57 and backed up traffic for miles Monday morning near Ina and Bonnie.

The two semis were seriously damaged in the crash that occurred at about 10:30 a.m. One of the drivers, 32-year-old Alejando Echavarria Escamilla, of Texas, suffered major injuries and was transported by ambulance to a local hospital, according to Illinois State Police Trooper Joshua Haile.

Traffic was backed up three or four miles after the crash, and as of 4:30 p.m. Monday, the right lane of traffic was still closed, Haile said. A preliminary investigation showed that one semi, driven by 52-year-old Paul Sierant, was parked on the right shoulder due to a mechanical issue.

Escamilla was driving in the right lane, then drove into the right shoulder and struck the trailer Sierant was pulling, Haile said. Escamilla continued northbound and struck a guardrail before overturning and coming to a stop in the ditch.

Escamilla was cited for improperly driving on the shoulder of the road.

Haile said there was quite a bit of debris on the road, including gravel, a small amount of oil and tomatoes one of the semis was hauling.

"There are tomatoes everywhere," he said.

Kaley Johnson: 618-239-2526, @KaleyJohnson6