UPDATE: 1 dead, at least 2 hurt in chain-reaction wreck in Douglas County

UPDATE: 1 dead, at least 2 hurt in chain-reaction wreck in Douglas County

TUSCOLA — One person is dead and at least two injured after a multi-vehicle crash at 4:57 p.m. Wednesday in Douglas County.

Douglas County Coroner Joe Victor said a semitrailer and several other vehicles were part of a chain-reaction crash on U.S. 36 about 2.5 miles east of Interstate 57.

According to an Illinois State Police report, Jill D. Steffes, 59, was eastbound on U.S. 36 in a white International Truck semitrailer when she stopped in the road because of to two crashes that were blocking her way. She activated her emergency flashers because she could not proceed.

Police said high winds had blown a large dust cloud across the road, reducing visibility.

About that time, a 2007 silver Toyota Corolla driven by a 16-year-old Mahomet boy entered the dust cloud. He was unable to stop his vehicle in time to avoid crashing into the back of Steffes’ semitrailer.

The 16-year-old driver was extricated from the vehicle and taken to Carle Foundation Hospital, where he pronounced dead. A letter from the Mahomet-Seymour school district superintendent identified him as junior Jacob Hamilton.

Two passengers in that vehicle, both 17-year-old boys from Mahomet, were also taken to Carle, where they were treated for what police described as non-life-threatening injuries.

Police said seat belts were worn by all involved.

The Tuscola Fire Department was on the scene to extricate people from the vehicles, with traffic control performed by the Tuscola Police Department and Camargo Fire Protection District.

Those injured in the crash were taken to an area hospital for evaluation and treatment, Victor said.

Victor said their names are being withheld pending notification of the families.

The crash is being investigated by the state police, Douglas County sheriff’s office and Douglas County coroner’s office.

Police said a total of 13 vehicles were involved in five separate crashes on U.S. 36.

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