Three Killed in I-70 Crash


Published on July 21 2019 2:02 pm
Last Updated on July 24 2019 4:59 pm
Written by Matt Robinson

Illinois State Police have released the details of the accident on Interstate 70 between Effingham and Altamont Saturday morning.

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The investigation indicates a white semi operated by Asllan Pino, 59, of Chesterfield Michigan, a GMC Yukon driven by Virginia E. Abrams, 59, of Wildwood, Missouri and a black semi driven by Jamie Hugh Smith, 39, of Lake City Florida, were traveling Interstate 70 eastbound in the construction zone and traffic came to a stop for unknown reasons.

The driver of the white Freightliner failed to reduce speed and struck the rear of a black GMC Yukon. The Freightliner pushed the GMC into the trailer being towed by a black Peterbilt. The white Freightliner then struck the concrete centerline dividing wall before coming to rest between the concrete wall and the black Peterbilt.

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It was reported a fourth tractor-trailer was struck by the black semi but was not damaged so the driver continued.  

Three people traveling in the SUV were killed in the accident. The driver, Matthew A. Murphy 63, and two passengers, Virginia E. Abrams 59 and Marleen E. Murphy 61, all from Wildwood Missouri. Two other passengers,  Bob E. Abrams 66, of Wildwood and Janice F. Smart 68, from St. Charles Missouri, were taken from the scene to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield. The original crash information had Virginia Abrams listed as the driver of the SUV and Matthew Murphy as a passenger. State police released updated information on Wednesday.

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Pino was not injured in the crash but his passenger in the white semi, Ancelmo James Campos, 35 of Toledo Ohio was also flown to St. John’s Hospital. 

Neither Smith, the driver of the black semi, or his passenger Siera Ann Peek, 20 of Lake City, Florida were injured.

Pino was charged with Failure to Reduce Speed to Avoid an Accident.

Several Emergency Agencies responded to the crash at milepost 90 in the construction zone between Altamont and Effingham which occurred shortly after 11:00 am Saturday.

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I-70 was closed in both directions for close to eight hours. Eastbound traffic was rerouted at the Altamont and St. Elmo exits and westbound traffic was rerouted onto southbound I-57. Route 40 was used as the primary alternate route, which made travel through Altamont and the surrounding area a challenge as traffic on Route 40 was bumper to bumper in some areas.

Illinois Department of Transportation and Howell construction were called to the scene to repair the concrete lane divider wall before the Interstate was reopened around 6:45 pm.

Illinois State Police District 12, the Illinois State Police Traffic Crash Reconstruction unit and the Effingham County Coroner’s office are continuing the investigation.