Identities released of 5 killed, 1 survivor in I-57 crash in southern Illinois

Heartland News confirms five people have died as a result of the crash. An SUV rear-ended a...
Heartland News confirms five people have died as a result of the crash. An SUV rear-ended a semi truck. (Source: KFVS)
Published: May. 3, 2019 at 4:30 PM CDT
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WEST FRANKFORT, IL (KFVS) - Interstate 57 northbound lanes north of the Marion, Illinois exit from Route 13 are back open following a deadly crash on Thursday afternoon, May 2.

It happened at 1:53 p.m. in Franklin County.

According to officials with the Illinois State Police the two-vehicle crash happened between a blue Ford Expedition and a Freightliner.

In the Expedition were Magnolia G. Armstrong, 80, Coraleen A. Luellen, 78, Peggy Jackson Armstrong, 75, Helen Elizabeth Armstrong, 78, Harold Edward Armstrong, 76 and Andrea E. Lesure, 59 all of Memphis, Tennessee.

According to Gray News station WMC in Memhis, the daughter of Peggy and Harold Armstrong says the other three women in the car were her dad’s sisters. She says her family is extremely close and would make the trip to Illinois pretty often.

Her aunts and mom were all retired teachers and her dad was a retired mail carrier. One of the victims, Magnolia Armstrong, who was driving, was a member of the WDIA Teen Town Singers.

The driver of the Freightliner was 38-year-old Dawit Tekeste Gerbermichael of Houston, Texas.

According to state police the Freightliner was on the right side of I-57 north at milepost 65.

The driver of the Expedition rear-ended the Freightliner resulting in the five deaths according to state police. Lesure was the only person in the Expedition to survive.

According to state police, traffic was diverted at Route 13 in Marion.

The Williamson County Fire Protection District said Route 148 and Route 37 was almost at a stand still from Marion north due to 57 being shut down. There was major traffic congestion in Marion, Herrin , Johnston City, West Frankfort.

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