MATTOON — Three people died from injuries in one of two multi-vehicle accidents that occurred on Interstate 57 just south of Mattoon Thursday afternoon.
The three fatalities were from an accident that involved traffic stalled because of the initial incident, Coles County Coroner Ed Schniers said.
Schniers identified one of the deceased as Andrzej Poprawa, 50, of Palm Coast, Florida, who was driving a tractor-trailer and was part of the traffic stopped because of the first accident.
He said the other fatalities were a driver and passenger in another vehicle that was stopped. It's not believed that they were area residents but their identifications haven't been confirmed, he said.
Schniers said the deceased were pronounced dead at the scene. Illinois State Police indicated there were injuries but no fatalities with the initial accident.
The first accident occurred about 3 p.m. Thursday about two miles south of Mattoon and involved two tractor-trailers, a van and a pickup truck, according to state police.
With the second accident, a vehicle failed to slow for the stopped traffic and hit a car, and the driver of that car was one of those killed, according to the release. That led to collisions involving four other vehicles, the news release said.
The release said one of the other drivers was a 59-year-old man from Charleston who was taken to an unspecified area hospital.
The release didn't give names of any of the drivers or any residence information on the driver who reportedly hit the stalled traffic. It said one of the other drivers was from Newark, Illinois, and another was from Richland, Indiana.
The initial accident took place after a southbound tractor-trailer crossed the median into the northbound lane and hit another tractor-trailer, state police indicated. The first truck then hit the van and the pickup truck, the news release said.
The driver of the truck that crossed the median, Jonathan S. Turner, 53, of Water Valley, Mississippi, was taken to an unspecified hospital with serious injuries, the release said. It also said he was cited for improper lane use.
The pickup truck driver, Christina Wiltz Credeur, 44, of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, was also taken to a hospital with serious injuries, according to the release.
The van's driver was identified as James E. Winn of Mattoon and the release said he wasn't injured.
The driver of the other tractor-trailer also was not injured, the release indicated, and he was identified as Mathew Credeur, also of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.
State police also indicated that at least part of the interstate was closed to traffic until about 9:30 p.m. Thursday.
Get to know Illinois: 15 state symbols
Snack food — Popcorn
Amphibian — Eastern tiger salamander
Reptile — Painted turtle
Flower — Violet
Tree — White Oak
Bird — Cardinal
Insect — Monarch butterfly
Fish — Bluegill
Mineral — Fluorite
Animal — White-tailed deer
Fossil — The Tully Monster
Dance — Square dance
Prairie grass — Big Bluestem
Soil — Drummer silty clay loam
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