Tri-State reopened after pileup closed SB I-294 near Hickory Hills

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Monday, February 2, 2015
50 cars, trucks involved in crash
Dozens of vehicles were invovled in a chain reaction of crashes on I-294 near Worth, Ill.

HICKORY HILLS, Ill. (WLS) -- All lanes on the Tri-State Tollway reopened just in time for the evening commute on Monday, hours after a multi-vehicle crash closed the southbound lanes near Hickory Hills.

No one was seriously injured, but dozens of cars were involved in the crash just north of 95th Street.

Around 9:30 a.m., two semis jackknifed, triggering the multi-vehicle crash near mile marker 18, officials said. More than 50 vehicles were involved.

"There were cars flying all around me. All of the sudden I got rear-ended from behind. There was a salt truck sliding sideways," Chuck Salazar said.

"We saw debris flying everywhere and cars going side to side. The driver of the car stopped. He did very well. He stopped. We looked in the mirror behind, and we just braced," Tara Cooley said.

"It's just the perfect storm of events where multiple crashes, one after another after another after another. It was one of the worst crashes that I've seen in a long time," Illinois State Police Lt. Bob Gembara said.

A mile and a half of mangled cars and trucks littered the southbound lanes Monday morning into the afternoon. Southbound traffic was routed off of I-294 near the site while crews removed the wreckage and salted the pavement.

The Tri-State reopened around 3:30 p.m.

While Illinois State Police are leading the investigation, emergency responders from several southwest suburban departments responded.

PHOTOS: Multi-vehicle crash closes I-294