A tractor-trailer driver died Wednesday morning in a crash on Interstate 270 in Glen Carbon.
Illinois State Police Trooper Calvin Dye Jr. said the driver “abruptly jerked hard to the left” while driving in the eastbound lanes of the interstate at mile marker 10.
The driver has been identified as Brian Westerfield, 47, of Freeburg, Dye said.
Dye said the cause of the crash was still under investigation, but police said Westerfield had possibly suffered a medical emergency. Authorities said Westerfield swerved to the left, crossed the center median and struck a tree. The truck was hauling 20,000 pounds of sand, police said. Dye said there appeared to be “no effort from the driver to try to stop” the truck from crashing.
The truck caught fire after the crash, and Westerfield was pronounced dead at the scene by 10 a.m. Wednesday.
As traffic backed up on eastbound I-270, two other crashes occurred Wednesday morning near the fatal crash scene, Dye said.
One person suffered minor injuries in one those crashes.
Dye said troopers often have to deal with ensuing crashes near major accident scenes.
“It gets very chaotic,” Dye said. “We have that happen a lot.”
Dye said motorists often do not pay attention to the traffic in front of them because they are trying to look at what happened in the original crash. Other “impatient” drivers will often drive the wrong way on the shoulder, he said.
Illinois Department of Transportation crews responded to check the Meridian Road overpass next to where the tractor-trailer caught on fire, Dye said.
Maryville and Glen Carbon fire departments also responded to the fatal crash as well as the Madison County Coroner’s Office.