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Accident shuts down I-55

CHANNAHON – On Monday, transportation officials and police gathered by the Des Plaines River Bridge on Interstate 55 to warn about the dangers of distracted driving in the construction zone.

On Tuesday morning, a tanker truck driver “bent down to grab a can of pop” and pushed a small truck into the back of a semitrailer, state police said.

The collision occurred in the southbound lanes at 11:50 a.m. under the Route 6 overpass.

“Traffic had stopped due to the construction,” Sgt. Chris Paluch said.

Kurt Serama, 38, of Hammond, Ind., did not see that the vehicles ahead had stopped and struck a rental truck used to transport dogs, Paluch said.

A woman who was driving the Petsmart Charities Rescue Waggin’ was taken to the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, police said. The woman in the passenger seat of the Rescue Waggin’ was not injured.

State police and a Petsmart spokesman said no dogs were in the truck.

Paluch said the rental truck was “destroyed” from being pinned between the two semitrailers. Serama and the driver of the other trucks were not injured.

Traffic was redirected onto Route 6 and back onto the interstate. The left lane was reopened before 1 p.m. and both lanes were cleared by 1:30 p.m.

Serama was ticketed for failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident, Paluch said.
Last year, 172 accidents occurred in the bridge construction zone and two people were killed.

• Shaw Media reporter Felix Sarver contributed to this report.

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