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Local man dies in crash on Pine Bluff Road

Morris resident Durkee, 55, pronounced dead a scene

A Morris man was killed in a car-versus-semi truck accident Tuesday afternoon.

Michael D. Durkee, 55, was pronounced dead on scene at 3 p.m. Tuesday, said Grundy County Coroner John Callahan in a press release.

The accident occurred around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday on Pine Bluff Road, about two miles east of Illinois 47, according to the dispatch calls.

"Preliminary findings of the crash indicate Mr. Durkee was eastbound on Pine Bluff, approaching the curve, when he suddenly went into the westbound lane of traffic and struck a semi-tractor-trailer in a head-on collision," said Callahan in the release. "At this time, it is unclear as to what may have caused Mr. Durkee’s vehicle to travel into the westbound lanes."  

Tracey Steffes, Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District chief, said Tuesday night there was one person in the car and one person in the semi truck. The semi driver was not transported to the hospital.

"He was not transported. Emotionally he was shaken up, but injurywise he was fine," said Steffes.

"It was a really violent crash," he continued.

The driver of the car had to be extricated from the vehicle, which took about 20 minutes.

"We've had a lot of accidents lately with semi-tractor trailers. There's no reason really. The roads are busy around here," Steffes said.

"It's an unfortunate accident that claimed a life," he added.

As a result of the accident, there was a large amount of debris on the road, including oil and diesel fuel, said the chief. While Morris fire was on scene with the Grundy County Sheriff's Police and coroner's office, Lisbon Fire covered the Morris fire station.

An autopsy will be done Wednesday morning. Callahan said it is unknown if Durkee had any medical condition that may have contributed to the crash, but Callahan said he hopes the exam will reveal some answers.   

The accident is under investigation by the coroner's office and the Grundy County Sheriff’s Department.

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