Five Killed in Hamilton County Accident
UPDATE 11:05 P.M. NOVEMBER 24, 2013
MCLEANSBORO -- A vehicle crash in Hamilton County claimed the lives of five people Saturday night. It happened on a four mile stretch called Anderson School Blacktop Road, and those who live nearby say it's always been a dangerous road.
Authorities say the driver of the vehicle, Collinsville resident Darrell Delong, 49, somehow lost control of the vehicle, sending it airborne and eventually rolling several times. But local residents say there are a number of reasons a person could crash on Anderson School Road.
"It's also known as thrill hills to a lot of the teenagers. With it having a series of 3 to 4 hills through here, a lot of kids like to drive down here extremely fast," says Hamilton County Chief Deputy Jason Stewart.
The hills of Anderson School Road has seen a lot of accidents over the years. Deputy Stewart says the 55 miles per hour speed limit, coupled with the steep hills, is what makes this road dangerous for every driver. He says Saturday night's accident will make it the third one in the past year.
Officials say Delong was driving northbound with five passengers when the accident happened. Three of the passengers were ejected and pronounced dead at the scene. They were Tammy Delong, 35, Lori Parker, 42, both also of Collinsville, and Diana Wright, 23, of McLeansboro.
Robert Parker, 49, of Collinsville was the only passenger wearing a seat belt, but he, too, died at the scene and became trapped inside the vehicle. The driver and a 16-year-old girl were also ejected. Both were life-flighted to an Indiana hospital. Deputy Stewart says that is where the girl succumbed to her injuries.
The Illinois Sate Police are still investigating just what happened. But Deputy Stewart says deer are a major problem.
"A lot of the times, by the time you top the hill, if the deer is in the bottom in the valley, it's hard to get stopped," he explains.
McLeansboro resident Jim Simmons agrees, "You won't have time to react, it's instantaneous. If you're at the top of that hill at 50 miles an hour and there's something halfway down the next hill, you ain't gonna blink before you hit it."
Simmons has been living in the town for 28 years and says he's seen at least one accident a year. Residents have called on officials in the past to fix the problem. He says maybe now, they'll do something.
"They've got to do something for this road other than just pave it. It's got to be done to protect these people that live out here and drive this road everyday."
Police are urging people to drive slowly and to pay attention while on the blacktop. Deputy Stewart says residents would also like to see more signs up along that road.
HAMILTON COUNTY -- Five people are dead after a roll-over accident in Hamilton County. It happened Saturday night around 10:30.
According to Hamilton County Sheriff Greg Brenner and Illinois State Police, 49-year-old Darrell Delong of Collinsville was traveling north on Anderson School Blacktop Road with five passengers. Delong somehow lost control of the vehicle, which went airborne, then rolled several times.
Brenner says passengers 35-year-old Tammy Delong, 42-year-old Lori Parker, both of Collinsville, and 23-year-old Diana Wright of McLeansboro were ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.
49-year-old Robert Parker, the only one wearing a seatbelt, was trapped inside the vehicle. Brenner says it took nearly an hour for first responders to extricated him from the vehicle. He also died at the scene.
Darrell Delong and a 16-year-old girl were also ejected from the vehicle. Brenner says both were life-flighted to an Indiana hospital in critical condition. By Sunday afternoon, deputies tell News 3 the girl succumbed to her injuries.
Officials were on the scene of the accident for nearly six hours. They are still investigating the cause of the fatal crash.
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