Metro-East News

Charges issued in multi-car accident that left 3 dead in Effingham County

Illinois State Police have released the results of a preliminary investigation into a multi-vehicle crash that left three people dead and shut down part of Interstate 70 for over six hours on Saturday.

Around 11 a.m., a white tractor-trailer driven by Asllan Pino, 59, of Chesterfield, Michigan, was heading eastbound on the highway in a construction zone when traffic came to a stop for reasons unknown, ISP District 12 stated in a news release. Pino failed to reduce speed in time and struck the back of a black GMC Yukon driven by Matthew A. Murphy, 63, of Wildwood, Missouri, police said.

According to police, the tractor-trailer pushed the Yukon into a Utility semi-trailer being towed by a black tractor-trailer ahead of it. The white tractor-trailer driven by Pino then struck the concrete center line dividing wall before it came to a rest between the wall and the black tractor-trailer, driven by Jamie Hugh Smith, 39, of Lake City, Florida.

Police said a fourth unit, likely a truck or tractor-trailer, was struck by the black tractor-trailer, but it was not damaged, so the driver left the scene.

Killed in the crash were Murphy and two of his passengers, Virginia E. Abrams, 59, of Wildwood, and Marleen E. Murphy, 61, of Wildwood. According to police, the following people were injured and transported to local hospitals:

  • Ancelmo James Campos, 35, of Toledo, Ohio, a passenger in the white tractor-trailer
  • Bob E. Abrams, 66, of Wildwood, Missouri, a passenger in the GMC Yukon
  • Janice F. Smart, 68, of St. Charles, Missouri, a passenger in the GMC Yukon

The driver of the black tractor-trailer was not injured, according to police. Pino was charged with failure to reduce speed to avoid a traffic crash.

The accident prompted police to shut down both the eastbound and westbound lanes I-70 near mile post 90, causing some drivers to wait for nearly four hours in 93-degree heat.

“We are literally trapped,” driver Joe Randall told the BND as he was stopped at mile marker 87.

Shortly after 3 p.m., some drivers on the eastbound lanes were re-routed and allowed to continue ahead. The highway finally reopened all lanes just before 6:45 p.m.

The crash continues to be investigated by ISP. Conditions of the people were injured were not immediately available Sunday afternoon.

Hana Muslic has been a public safety reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat since August 2018, covering everything from crime and courts to accidents, fires and natural disasters. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and her previous work can be found in The Lincoln Journal-Star and The Kansas City Star.