Metro-East News

Couple hospitalized after crash near Hamel; police suspect driver was impaired

A couple from Effingham were hospitalized after a one-vehicle crash at 1 p.m. Tuesday on northbound Interstate 55 about two miles north of the construction near Hamel.

A 59-year-old woman was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected in the rollover crash. She was flown to Saint Louis University Hospital in critical condition, Illinois State Police said.

A 59-year-old man was also taken to the same hospital in serious condition. He was later arrested, Illinois State Police said, on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs.

State Police did not release either of the couple’s names or information about the vehicle.

Illinois State Police were still investigating on Wednesday morning.

Dye previously told the BND that drivers need to slow their speeds to avoid accidents in that stretch of the highway.

Tuesday’s crash occurred about four miles north of where an eight-car pileup killed four people and injured another 12 in November 2017. Shortly after, in mid December, a woman died in a 10-car crash on Interstate 55 in the same area.

In July, a 76-year-old Hamel man was killed and an Illinois trooper suffered injuries when the man’s vehicle slammed into the rear of the trooper’s squad vehicle, which was parked in the construction zone on Interstate 55 near Edwardsville.

Later in July, a driver had to be extricated from the pickup he was driving after he rear-ended a tractor-trailer on the interstate in the southbound lanes near Hamel.

Mary Cooley: 618-239-2535; @MaryCooleyBND