More Information Released on Vehicle Strike of Route 78 Bridge

By Jeremy Coumbes on April 13, 2023 at 5:25pm

More information has become available on a traffic crash that shut down a major traffic artery in and out of Jacksonville Wednesday morning.

Jacksonville rescue, police, and Morgan County sheriff’s deputies responded to a call of a vehicle crash on State Highway 78 at the rail bridge just north of the wastewater treatment plant at 9:49 am yesterday.

According to a report by the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, a 2020 Chevrolet pickup truck driven by 33-year-old Wesley W. Oxley of Jacksonville, was traveling southbound on Route 78 and pulling a gooseneck trailer containing a 20,000-pound excavator.

While traveling under the railroad bridge, the excavator struck the underside of the bridge causing the truck to lose control. The truck then struck the guardrail on the west side of the roadway, while the trailer struck the guardrail on the east side. Additionally, the collision caused the excavator to fall off of the trailer landing in the northbound lane of traffic.

The truck sustained damage to the front end as well as the rear where the trailer was attached to the bed. The excavator reportedly suffered significant damage in many areas, and the trailer had damage throughout and is suspected to be a total loss.

The report indicates there were large craters and scrapes in the pavement where the excavator struck and slid on the pavement. Both guardrails were damaged and the underside of the rail bridge had a slice of metal missing where it was struck.

No injuries were reported and no citations were issued as of the time of the report. All three implements including the truck, trailer, and excavator had to be towed from the scene by Bills Towing of Jacksonville.

Officials from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad were notified. The Illinois Department of Transportation was also notified and took over the scene from the police. The road was reopened to traffic sometime over the noon hour.