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Five dead after crash involving semi-truck carrying anhydrous ammonia

Monday, Oct 2, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller


5 people dead and 5 more are injured following a crash Friday night on U.S. Highway 40 near Teutopolis involving a toxic chemical.

Another collision on Interstate 70 which led drivers to US Highway 40 and caused it to be backed up.

Teutopolis Fire Protection District said they received a call around 9 pm that a semi-truck turned over releasing anhydrous ammonia into the air and killed the 5 people.

3 of them are Teutopolis Residents who are a father and his 2 children. The other two were from Ohio and Missouri.

* The latest update from WAND

UPDATE: 9 am Monday

The tanker that contained anhydrous ammonia has been drained, patched, and removed to a secure location. An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board is pending.

* AP

The tanker truck crash in central Illinois that killed five people may have started when another vehicle tried to pass the chemical-laden truck, a federal transportation official said Sunday.

The tanker truck was carrying caustic anhydrous ammonia when it jackknifed Friday night, and hit a utility trailer parked just off the highway, according to Tom Chapman, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board. The tank carrying anhydrous ammonia hit the trailer hitch of the other vehicle, which punched a six-inch (15 centimeter) hole in the chemical container, Chapman said during news conference Sunday.

Chapman said the tanker truck’s driver pulled to the right and ran off the road as it traveled west on U.S. 40 in Teutoplis, a small community about 110 miles (177 kilometers) northeast of St. Louis.


At least seven other people from six different states were also treated at hospitals after being overcome by what authorities described as a “large plume cloud” that was released when the tanker truck spilled its load on a highway east of Teutopolis, Illinois, Effingham County Coroner Kim Rhodes said in a statement Sunday evening.

Autopsies are scheduled to be performed Monday morning on the victims to confirm the preliminary findings, Rhodes said.

“Preliminary investigation indicates five individuals died from exposure to anhydrous ammonia at the crash site,” according to Rhodes’ statement. […]

Rhodes said the victims were exposed to the ammonia “due to traveling through the scene of the crash site.”


Anhydrous ammonia — often used in manufacturing, refrigeration and agriculture — is a toxic gas that can be corrosive if people have contact with it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It’s terrible,” Sheriff Kuhns said. “It’s bad stuff if you are involved in it — breathe it, especially — because it gets in your airways, in your lungs.”

Chief McMahon said that shifting wind directions had further complicated the response to the crash. Crews had to be set up in multiple locations to respond to the gas leak based on the wind changes, he said.

…Adding… If you would like to help victims of the accident here are some GoFundMes.

* More…


  1. - Vote Quimby - Monday, Oct 2, 23 @ 12:36 pm:

    Whoever is responsible for the construction zone on I-70 should have their license revoked. This is only the latest and most serious crash caused by this inane setup.

  2. - Mamacita - Monday, Oct 2, 23 @ 12:44 pm:

    The work zone on 70 is flat and straight, with plenty of big orange signs to warn drivers they’re coming up on a work zone. I think the problem is located behind the wheel.

  3. - Anon221 - Monday, Oct 2, 23 @ 12:49 pm:

    The inter-connectiveness of this crash and the construction issues (and crashes) on I-70 need to be addressed. A lot of the impetus on the incidents in this area are unsafe drivers. Folks just will not obey the merge and speed limits until they are right up on, or in in many cases, the construction zone. It’s not unique in Illinois that this behavior occurs, but on this stretch of construction it has been incredibly deadly this year.

    Niemerg calling for accountability-

    Look back at the Effingham to Altamont construction issues-

  4. - effillus - Monday, Oct 2, 23 @ 2:09 pm:

    Just to clarify… The accident occurred on US Route 40, not I-70, though traffic was being diverted onto 40 through Teutopolis because of a previous accident on the interstate. I-70 carries a LOT of heavy truck traffic, and re-routing it through a small town such as Teutopolis, on a two-lane highway with a four-way stop, is dangerous at best.

  5. - Lynn S. - Tuesday, Oct 3, 23 @ 10:25 am:

    What Mamacita said +1,000,000

    I grew up within 6 miles of this crash site. Probably passed it at least 3-4 times each month from the time my parents took out the loan to buy their farm until I went off to college.

    It was shocking, one day in August, to see a story on the WCIA evening news about there had been something like 7 crashes in 3 days around the Montrose to Effingham construction zone of I-70. (Thankfully, that series of events had no fatalities, just an interstate turned into a parking lot for miles in each direction.)

    I don’t know who was driving the car that attempted to pass the semi that jack-knifed, but my sister texted to say that the semi was owned by a man who was in my grade in school, whose family rode the bus with ours for probably almost 20 years, whose own family farm is probably within 5 miles of this crash site.

    But for the sake of the person driving the car that attempted to pass the semi, I hope it’s some fool who lives in a city of at least 100,000+ who simply had no idea that their maneuver, though it may have been legal, was so dangerous.

    They were within a 1/2 mile of village limits. This could have been so much worse.

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