Interstate 57 was shut down twice Thursday as a result of two separate accidents, both involving semi tractor trailers.
The first crash happened shortly before 9 a.m. near South Suburban Monee when one semi slammed into the rear of the other, Illinois State Police officers said.
One semi apparently slammed into the rear of another in the southbound lanes, then became engulfed in flames, killing the driver. The driver of the vehicle that was struck was taken to St. James Hospital and Health Centers in Olympia Fields with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
The southbound lanes of I-57 between Monee and Peotone were closed immediately and traffic was detoured to the east to Route 50.
About eight hours later, three semi tractor trailers were involved in a second collision within five miles of the first accident.
The driver of the third semi, Frederick Conlon, 52, of Lisben, OH, was pronounced dead at 7:20 p.m. Thursday. Another was transported to Olympia Fields with minor injuries and a third refused treatment.
"We had to call a crane in to remove a container off the semi cab before we could start extrication," said Peotone Fire Chief Bill Schreiber.
Both directions are in the beginning stages of a construction project, Schreiber said. He said there have been numerous accidents in the area all week, but in his roughly 30 years with the department, he said two of the worst occurred Thursday.