Earlier this month, five died in a fatal crash on I-57 in Illinois. But, with no official investigation report released, some are falsely claiming it was texting and driving. There is, however, an unofficial cause.

Earlier this month on May 2, five people lost their lives in a horrific crash on Interstate 57 in Illinois near the West Frankfort exit, an Expedition slammed into the rear of a tractor-trailer.

Even though Illinois State Police is still actively investigating the situation, that hasn’t stopped a handful of people on social media to sensationalize this story, mainly blaming texting while driving.

As of this writing, I haven’t come across a single news outlet reporting this was a “texting while driving” accident.

Here’s a list of the most recent news reports I looked up.

I have, however, come across the more popular social media posts blaming texting while driving with no proof. Here are two I found after a cursory search.


The unofficial cause

It looks like local news initially shared a photo from Facebook user Jason Chapman. According to comments shared on that photo, some witnesses had their own account of what happened, corroborated by others.

Supposedly this tractor-trailer driver had just finished fixing his flat tire and was attempting to merge back onto the freeway. At least one person said the tractor-trailer stalled while merging, further adding to him going so slow. With cars hurtling towards this tractor-trailer at speeds above 60 MPH, I can see how this collision would’ve happened.

Here’s the quote I gleaned most of this unofficial story,

“…looked like he was trying to merge on the interstate from off the side of the road, they had just fixed his tire, he had been there for a while fixing it. He was trying to speed up but truckers can’t speed up fast like cars and 3+ cars got over so he could merge but that car didn’t in time..and smacked right into him”

Initial reaction and Arm-chair crash analysis

The amount of force involved to literally sandwich that Ford Expedition to almost half its length must’ve been incredible. If all passengers had seatbelts, I can imagine how no one would’ve survived in the driver’s or front passenger’s seat. With the passenger compartment cell completely failed, at this point, all that force would’ve continued towards the rear passengers.

The lack of debris flying off the Expedition indicates that most, if not all the forces from the collision were transferred into the Expedition.

Both the NHTSA and IIHS give the new Expedition top safety ratings although their ratings, mainly the frontal crash tests, only go up to around 35 MPH into a stationary wall.

Here’s what that stretch of road looks like on Google Maps.

Could texting and driving be a possible cause?

First of all, my sincere condolences to the family members involved. It’s my understanding that all five who passed away were headed to a wedding. Some are saying that since the average age of all dead were “up there” it somehow lessens the tragedy, which is absurd. No one wants a family member to go like that.

Sure, no one is ruling out texting and driving. Then again, to falsely report it as the official cause is just plain wrong. It paints the victims in a false light and is no source of comfort to those immediately affected.

As mentioned, in all likelihood it was just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Presumably, after traveling several hours on a mostly flat and straight Interstate, the driver probably got used to the speed and his surroundings, just like any normal driver would.

No one expects to see a tractor-trailer, for all intents and purposes, trudging along at such a slow speed.

I’ll be monitoring this story for an official cause so please bookmark this page for an update.

Until then, no, texting and driving is not the official cause.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here