The Illinois State Police, Illinois EPA, EMA, and Office of Homeland Security, along with IDOT, IDPH, and the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office are wrapping up an investigation into a multi-vehicle accident involving a semi-truck transporting anhydrous ammonia.
At 9:25 PM, Friday, September 29th, ISP was notified of a crash that occurred on US Highway 40 ½ miles east of Teutopolis involving multiple vehicles and a truck leaking anhydrous ammonia. The truck was carrying 7,500 gallons of the liquid at the time of which 4,000 gallons leaked from the tanker. Due to the plume of smoke from the ammonia leak, 500 residents were evacuated from their homes in northeast Teutopolis, and US Highway 40 was closed between Effingham and Montrose. Five fatalities were announced along with multiple injuries reported.
The five people that were killed in the accident were 67-year-old Danny J. Smith from New Haven, Missouri, 31-year-old Vasile Cricovan from Twinsburg, Ohio, 34-year-old Kenneth Bryan from Teutopolis, 7-year-old Rosie Bryan from Beecher City, and 10-year-old Walker Bryan from Beecher City.
Local, State, and Federal agencies coordinated response efforts and will continue to follow up. US Highway 40 is reopened. Effingham County Sheriff Paul Kuhns, praised the efforts of first responders, “I’m impressed with the quality and amount of assistance received from the local and state agencies.”
Preliminary investigation shows all five victims died from exposure to the ammonia, the coroner's office said. Autopsies are scheduled for Monday.