Dozens of Vehicles Involved in I-294 Crash

The pileup, near mile marker 18, was caused by black ice, officials said

Three of the four southbound lanes of Interstate 294 near Hickory Hills were shut down Monday morning after a crash involving dozens of vehicles, and eight people were taken to the hospital.

The crash involved 45 vehicles, 20 of which had to be towed from the expressway, Illinois State Police confirmed. One of the vehicles involved was a state police squad car that was rear-ended while the officer assisted with another crash scene, police said.

Police said black ice caused a series of accidents on the roadway from 75th Street to 95th Street.

Darius Pendleton was among the drivers whose vehicle was damaged.

"Traffic was pretty stable and then suddenly there was a state trooper in front of me and he started coming to a stop and I saw cars behind me start to spin as well as cars in front of me start to spin," he said. "I did avoid hitting that trooper but I ended up bouncing off of the semi which ran me into an SUV."

Pendleton said the problem seemed to stem from a patch of ice in the center lane. The outer lanes were clear, he said.

Crews from the North Palos Fire Protection District responded. There were reports of injuries as of 10:15 a.m., but they were said to be minor.

Only three lanes were intermittently open to allow traffic as plows salted the pavement, but all lanes were reopened shortly before the evening rush hour.

Several other crashes were reported on Chicago area roadways Monday as Illinois State Police issued a travel advisory.

Police urged drivers to use "extreme caution while traveling on interstates and state routes the res of [Monday]."

A crash on northbound Interstate 57 shut down the roadway at Saulk Trail, causing major dealys in Cook and Will County.

Another crash shut down northbound I-55 at Route 6 Monday afternoon, causing a "major backup," police said.

Both roadways were reopened by 1 p.m. Monday.

Police reminded motorists Monday to allow extra time for travel, ensure they have a full tank of gas and to bring a charged cell phone, car charger, food, water, warm clothing and blankets.

"State Troopers will be working around the clock to divert tragedies while going above and beyond to keep our motorists safe," ISP said in a statement.

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