MATTOON (JG-TC) — One person died Sunday afternoon from injuries sustained in a four-car collision that occurred at 8:31 p.m. Saturday at the Lerna Road and Illinois Route 16 intersection, according to Mattoon police.

While names of those involved have not been released, Mattoon Police Department Chief Jeff Branson said the individual died in Urbana at Carle Foundation Hospital.

“It appears the striking vehicle was traveling (in the westbound lane) at a high rate of speed and impacted the other cars,” he said by phone Sunday.

Several people were transported from the scene to Carle hospital with severe injuries, Branson said.

“This was a very significant wreck, and one of the worst I have seen in Mattoon for some time,” he added.

The investigation, which will include Illinois State Police as it moves forward, is ongoing with accident reconstruction research. Branson added that the investigation will take time, and officials plan to examine the “black box,” or event data recorders, in all four cars.

Mattoon police, Coles County Sherrif’s Office, Mattoon fire and Charleston fire personnel responded to the collision. Route 16 was closed for about one hour while crews cleaned debris from the road.

More details will be released as they become available.

(3) comments


We were leaving the theater just after this accident happened. Emergency personnel were already in place. We assumed it was a very serious accident. Naturally, we tried to find out what was going on, but could only see from a distance of several hundred yards.

The police and fire personnel handled traffic diversion quite well, professionally. Such a shame for the people involved. Inexplicably, this intersection has seen more than its share of fatalities since this highway first opened as Red Graham Route 17, fifty–some years ago. My high school friend Susan Beatty was the first fatality there – back when there was just a stop sign on the Lerna Road.


Drivers on this section of Route 16 need to SLOW DOWN. Too many are pressing the pedal well past the 45 mph speed limit at this intersection, and it frequently results in devastating consequences. I am very sorry for the tragic circumstances of this crash.


I don't know what the solution for this problem is. It seems about half the drivers obey the speed limit and others drive 60-65. Slow drivers are in both lanes and on and on. It is not conducive to good driving when you have so many people doing their own thing in this stretch More police patrolling this area might help. You very seldom see any police cars with radar or just watching for crazy driving. So sorry for those who were injured/killed.

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