A Freightliner hit the back of a Mack truck on I-72 in Pike County Tuesday morning, sending one man to hospital.
Local and state officials were on scene for over eight hours, conducting an investigation. State Police were apparently securing the health and safety of traffic on westbound Interstate 72. A Master Sergeant with Illinois State Police District 20 says that one of the trucks had reportedly been transporting an undisclosed amount of argon gas.
According to reports from Illinois State Police, 63 year old Lawrence Rosen, of Michigan, and 34 year old Chad Ativie, of Missouri, were both traveling westbound on I-72 at about 2:15 Tuesday morning. Ativie was driving a 2013 Mack Truck tanker-trailer [Unit 1], and Rosen was driving a 2005 Freightliner semi-tractor [Unit 2].
A preliminary investigation revealed that Rosen’s freightliner hit Ativie’s Mack tanker-trailer in the rear, which caused both units to run off the right side of the road.
Illinois State Police District 20 Master Sergeant Jeff Schisler describes some details of the preliminary investigation.
“Unit 2 was westbound on I-72. Unit 1 had either merged or was in the process of merging into westbound interstate traffic around mile post 35. Unit 2 did not yield in the proper manner and collided into the rear of Unit 1. Both vehicles exited the roadway to the right-side or northern ditch.”
Schisler describes why the crash site took several hours to completely clear for safety.
“One of the semis did have an amount of argon gas, which is considered a hazardous material, on board. Therefore, the right shoulder and lane of Interstate 72 at Mile Post 35 was closed so that crews could do a Haz-Mat cleaning of the area. Traffic was diverted and slowed in the area while the scene was being cleaned up.”
Rosen was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash. Ativie was transported to Illini Community Hospital in Pittsfield by the Pike County Ambulance service with minor injuries. Assisting in the accident response and investigation were the Pike County Sheriff’s Department, the North Pike Fire Department, and the Illinois Department of Transportation.