MARION — Five fatalities have been confirmed in a Thursday afternoon crash near the West Frankfort exit on Interstate 57 northbound.
The crash was reported to Illinois State Police at 1:52 p.m. Thursday, according to Illinois State Police Trooper Bridget Rice.
Responding officers found a two-vehicle accident involving an SUV and a semitrailer, Rice said. Preliminary investigations indicate the semi was rear-ended by the SUV.
One additional victim was transported to a local hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, Rice said.
Police were not yet identifying the victims.
After the crash, I-57 northbound was diverted at the West Frankfort exit, Rice said, to protect the scene of the accident, just north of the West Frankfort northbound on-ramp.
However, traffic backed up so far that law enforcement instead began to divert traffic at Illinois 13, in Marion, Rice said.
I-57 northbound was closed for nearly five hours and reopened about 7 p.m. Thursday. Southbound lanes remained open Thursday afternoon.
An alert from the Saline County Sheriff's Office indicated the closures caused delays on Illinois 13 near I-57, as well as on Illinois 37.
The West Frankfort police and fire departments, as well as the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the Illinois State Police all responded to the scene. ISP will lead the investigation into the crash, it indicated.
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