Peotone authorities said 12 people were injured, but all of them are expected to survive. On Thursday afternoon, five accidents were reported in the northbound lanes of I-57 near Peotone, and two in the southbound lanes.
Thick smoke billowed and flames engulfed a semi Thursday afternoon. Rescuers hustled to the scene on northbound I-57 near Peotone, but it was difficult.
"The emergency responders couldn't get to that accident because it was sandwiched in. then after that there was another accident and it kept going like that for miles," said Ken Bialek.
Emergency crews brought in extrication equipment and requested heavy cranes. Ken Bialek took pictures of the fiery crash.
"Then the big semi was on fire, and none of the emergency responders could get to them because that was sandwiched all in, so it was just burning there," said Ken Bialek. Bialek's wife, Lindsey, was driving in another car.
"It was pretty foggy. I know that picture looks pretty clear, but you couldn't see very well until you got up to it," said Lindsey Bialek.
Drivers reported clusters of accidents along the stretch, forcing state police to close a six-mile stretch of the road for hours.
"Unfortunately, you couldn't see, and that was probably the main reason and the culprit to this whole situation," said Chief Bill Schreiber, Peotone Fire District.
"Accidents and a bunch of cars just couldn't get through so everyone's just sitting around and trying to pull over to the side, and then more accidents. Then everyone would stop and they'd just start running into the back of them," said Ken Bialek.
All lanes of I-57 are reopened in Peotone as of 9 p.m.