I-55 fiery crash survivor recounts deadly chain reaction

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Thin Ho is counting his blessings Tuesday; you'd never know from the slight damage on his Honda Civic that Ho was hit by a semi just moments before it burst into flames. (WLS)

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Thin Ho is counting his blessings Tuesday; you'd never know from the slight damage on his Honda Civic that Ho was hit by a semi just moments before it burst into flames on the Stevenson Expressway Monday.

Illinois State Police said the five-vehicle chain-reaction crash on outbound I-55 near Cicero Avenue was caused by the driver of the semi hauling tons of frozen meat.

"I was rear-ended so I got outside the car just to see what happened and the trailer caught on fire," Ho said. "The semi guy, he- he got out as well, unlatched his trailer from his semi and then we both pulled up another 100 to 200 feet and just watched the fire escalate, and then we heard an explosion."

State police say the driver of the semi failed to brake when traffic came to a stop just north of Cicero. The resulting collision pushed two passenger vehicles, including a minivan, into a second semi carrying nearly 18,000 lbs. of flammable paint. The paint spilled onto the road behind the semi, spreading the flames. All the vehicles except for Ho's car up front were consumed by the ensuing fire. The minivan's driver was killed.

"Someone was saying there was chemicals so we had to move off the vicinity," Ho said.

The at-fault semi driver has been cited for failing to reduce speed. Meanwhile, the Medical Examiner's Office is still trying to identify the driver of the minivan.

Related Topics:
crashtruck firesurvivor storyGarfield RidgeChicago - Archer Heights
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