Illinois State Police: 5 killed in I-70 van crash


VANDALIA, Ill.  — Five people died and six others were taken to hospitals today after the van they were riding in left a southern Illinois freeway and overturned several times, Illinois State Police said.

State police spokesman Mark Zimmerman says the five died at the scene of the accident shortly before 10 a.m. on Interstate 70 near Vandalia, about 70 miles east of St. Louis. Zimmerman says many of the victims were ejected from the van.

The six others in the 15-passenger, 2002 Dodge van have been hospitalized at separate locations. Details of their conditions have not been released.

Both eastbound lanes of the freeway were closed as crews worked to clear the wreckage.

Details of what caused the crash or to whom the van belonged were not immediately available. State police say they’ve assigned two crash-reconstruction officers to the investigation.

The Associated Press has left messages with Fayette County Coroner Bruce Bowen. Calls to the county’s sheriff’s department were directed to state police.