MT. VERNON – The northbound lanes of Interstate 57 at milepost 104 in Jefferson County were closed for several hours Monday night due a three-vehicle crash that required extensive extrication efforts and sent three people to hospitals for treatment of injuries.
According to the Illinois State Police, 39-year-old James Harlan, of Thayer, Mo., was driving his semi northbound on I-57 around 5:17 p.m. behind a Chevy Malibu, driven by 59-year-old Martha Beard, of Centralia, and a semi-truck driven by 43-year-old Maximo Pina-Mendez of Fort Worth, Texas.
As traffic began to slow for cleanup from a previous crash, Mendez and Beard began to stop.
Harlan, however, failed to stop in time and struck the rear of Beard’s car, causing it to leave the roadway to the east. Harlan’s semi then struck the rear of Mendez’ semi causing significant damage to both vehicles.
The northbound lanes of I-57 were closed for several hours. Harlan and Beard were transported to out-of-state hospitals with serious injuries. Mendez and a passenger in his truck were transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.