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Fifth person dies from I-55 crash in Channahon Township

CHANNAHON TOWNSHIP – A husband and father who died Wednesday is the fifth person to have been killed as a result of the July 21 collision of a semitrailer and three vehicles on Interstate 55 in Channahon Township.

Timothy Osburn, 64, of Urbana, was pronounced dead at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood at 6:36 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

He was involved in the first of two collisions July 21 on I-55 near Arsenal Road in the construction zone near the Des Plaines River bridge, which initially left four people – three women and a child – dead.

Osburn was in the same car as his wife, Kimberly K. Britton, 43, and his daughter, Piper Britton, 11, of Urbana, when a semitrailer driver rear-ended three vehicles that had backed up in the northbound lanes near Arsenal Road, state police confirmed Thursday.

Kimberly and Piper Britton died at the scene along with Vicky L. Palacios, 54, of Coal City and Ulrike P. Blopleh, 48, of Channahon. Palacios and Blopleh were in separate cars.

A second collision happened at 2:33 p.m. in the southbound lanes near Route 6 when one semitrailer rear-ended another. Killed in that accident was Deividas Mockus, 41, of Darien, who was pronounced dead at 4:29 p.m. at Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, according to the Will County Coroner’s Office.

The same construction zone was the site of 12 crashes with injuries and two fatalities in 2013. The I-55 construction has reduced traffic down to one lane each way for the past two summer construction seasons.

The semitrailer driver in the first fatal crash, Francisco Espinal-Quiroz, 51, of Leesburg, Indiana, is being held at the Will County jail in lieu of a $1 million bond. He was charged with two Class 4 felonies that included falsifying a log book and failing to maintain a log book.

Espinal-Quiroz is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday for an arraignment.

Assistant Will County State’s Attorney Jim Long said the day after the collision that other charges, including reckless homicide, are a possibility as state police continue to investigate the crash. Police also cited Espinal-Quiroz for failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

Charles Pelkie, spokesman for the Will County State’s Attorney Office, said no new charges had been filed as of Thursday and the investigation into the collision is ongoing.

Espinal-Quiroz allegedly falsified entries in his logbook to make it appear he was behind the wheel for a shorter period of time than allowed by federal law. He told officers at the scene he started work at 2:30 a.m. Monday, instead of 6:30 a.m., as falsely indicated in his logbook.

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