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12-hour cleanup after fatal I-80 crash

Eastbound Interstate 80 was closed for just under 12 hours after four semis collided Monday afternoon.

One driver was killed and a passenger in another truck was injured in the crash, which happened at 2:42 p.m. east of the Ridge Road exit of I-80 at Minooka.

Eastbound lanes of Interstate 80 were closed after a three-truck accident at the Minooka exit.
(John Patsch/Staff Photographer)

"Traffic became congested in the eastbound lanes due to construction work," Trooper Mark Dorencz said.

A semi carrying steel pipes, driven by William Henderson, 39, of Bradley, struck the rear of a grain hauler that had stopped.

"The impact caused a chain reaction involving two additional semis and caused three loads to spill onto the roadway," Dorencz said. In addition to the steel pipes and grain, another grain hauler also lost its load.

Minooka and Troy firefighters responded to the crash as state troopers closed all of the eastbound lanes.

Victim identified

Henderson was pronounced dead at the scene by a deputy Grundy County coroner.

A passenger from the last semi involved, Lawrence Atkinsson, 55, of Denver, was transported to Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet for injuries that weren't life threatening. He was a passenger in a semi hauling a box container that did not lose its load.

The other drivers: Daniel Frye 37, of Argyle, Wis.; Jared Massey 24, of Clifton; and Manuel Proctor 48, of Cedar Hill, Texas, were not injured.

Major cleanup effort

Dorencz said the vehicles' damage and grain and steel "littering the roadway" made removing the trucks difficult.

"Cleanup entailed the removal of steel and placement on a different flatbed," he said. Front loaders scooped several tons of grain and put it into dump trucks.

Traffic was diverted at Route 47 and eastbound drivers were sent onto routes 6 and 52. The highway was reopened at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Dorencz said preliminary investigation has determined alcohol was not a factor in the crash. A crash reconstruction team is still working to find the cause of the accident.

June 23, 2009
By BRIAN STANLEY bstanley@scn1.com

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