The Illinois State Police are asking for help identifying a vehicle suspected to be involved in a tanker truck crash that released thousands of pounds of hazardous materials into the environment. The incident forced hundreds of people to evacuate and killed five, including two children.
The vehicle in question was filmed being driven westbound on U.S. Highway 40 in Montrose, Illinois at 8:35 pm on September 29. A dark-colored vehicle can be seen passing through an intersection at a distance, with poor lighting, low resolution, and obstacles obscuring identifying features. However, some details still are still visible: the vehicle appears to have four doors and wide taillights. Its rear door handles are located near the front of the doors, possibly giving away sliding rear doors, while some frames suggest a sloping nose. In all likelihood, this is some kind of minivan or MPV.
According to an ISP press release, the car is believed to have continued westbound before encountering a tanker truck carrying 7,500 pounds of anhydrous ammonia. Per a National Transportation Safety Board statement to CNN, the car is believed to have attempted a dangerous pass that resulted in the truck overturning, and its tank puncturing.
Anhydrous ammonia is considered by OSHA to be a hazardous material, with the potential to corrode, poison, and catch fire according to a material safety data sheet from Airgas. The subsequent release of 4,000 pounds of the chemical into the surrounding area reportedly forced 500 people to evacuate Teutopolis, Illinois. Unfortunately, several people were injured due to exposure, while five people were killed, including two children aged 10 or younger.
Local authorities are gathering footage from nearby surveillance cameras in an attempt to identify the vehicle, and therefore the driver. Meanwhile, the Illinois State Police Division of Criminal Investigation asked anyone with information on the vehicle to submit it by calling (217) 342-7881.
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