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WEST FRANKFORT — Three people were injured and northbound Interstate 57 closed for six hours Wednesday after two semitrailers crashed near West Frankfort.

The crash happened about 3:50 a.m., after the driver of a semitrailer told investigators he swerved to avoid hitting a deer, according to a news report from the Illinois State Police District 13. That driver, 36-year-old Michael James McGarvey, of Morristown, Tennessee, was charged with failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash and improper lane usage.

A preliminary investigation indicates that McGarvey was driving a 2014 Freightliner near I-57 mile post 63, where he said he swerved and lost control, overturning in the roadway.

The driver of a 2016 Freightliner — 34-year-old Martin Brouillette of Trois Rivières, Quebec, Canada — was unable to see the overturned vehicle and struck the vehicle without slowing, according to the report. "The impact caused the 2014 Freightliner trailer to be ripped open, violently spewing its contents, which included auto parts, across approximately 100 yards of northbound I-57," the report said.

McGarvey refused treatment at the scene.

Brouillette, who was extricated from the vehicle by West Frankfort Fire Department, incurred incapacitating injuries and was flown via medical helicopter to a regional hospital. A passenger in his vehicle, Josie Anne Bellaire-Robert, 27, also of Trois Rivières, was also extricated from the vehicle by West Frankfort Fire Department; she incurred non-incapacitating injuries and was transported via ambulance to a local hospital.

The crash led to the closure of the northbound I-57 for about six hours and 45 minutes for scene cleanup and crash investigation.



Stephanie Esters is a reporter covering Jackson and Union counties.

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