Section Of I-57 Closed, Homes Evacuated For Several Hours, After Semi-Tractor Accident In Champaign


UPDATE: The Champaign Fire Department says the contents of the damaged tanker on I-57 were transferred to a new tanker by 9:10 PM Sunday evening, and residents of the evacuated area were allowed to return to their homes. State Police report I-57 between I-74 and I-72 was reopened to traffic in both directions, shortly before 2 AM Monday morning. While the highway is open, State Police  are advising motorists to drive with extreme caution near the accident scene, and to slow down because of snow, ice and slush on the roadway.

ORIGINAL STORY: A section of I-57 running through Champaign was closed, and nearby neighborhoods evacuated on Sunday, after a semi-tractor tanker trailer carrying a hazardous chemical jackknifed on the highway.

Illinois State Police say the semi was carrying dimethylaminopropylamine, a chemical used in the manufacture of shampoo.

According to news reports, evacuations were initially carried out in a section of Summer Sage Court, just west of the highway.

By Sunday afternoon, with the weather forecast predicting a change in the wind for the evening, Champaign Fire Marshal John Koller ordered the evacuation of an area east of the highway.

The second evacuation area includes the 3300-3400 blocks of Katie Lynn Drive, Edward Hoffman Drive and Florence Drive, and the 800-900 blocks of Erin Drive.

I-57 has been closed since Sunday morning around milepost 235.5, from I-74 to I-72. Traffic was being re-routed, and State Police said the highway would be closed for 12-24 hours, while the crash site was cleared and the hazardous materials offloaded.  

The Bradley Avenue Bridge over I-57 was also closed.

The accident occurred Sunday morning around 7:02 AM, at milepost 235.5. State Police say the driver of the semi lost control of the vehicle while changing lanes. The tanker trailer came unattached from the tractor, with the tractor spinning into the ditch to the right of the highways, and the tanker sliding onto its side in the center median.

The driver, Derrick Williams of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was cited for driving too fast for conditions and failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

Story source: WILL