TEUTOPOLIS, Ill. (WCIA) — People in Teutopolis are stepping up to support a family who lives near the site of Friday night’s tanker truck crash, which resulted in a HAZMAT release that turned deadly.
The crash happened on Route 40, just east of the town, and the Elmore family is still trying to come to terms with what happened.
“We’ve not even stepped foot on our property since we got word of the accident,” Megan Elmore said.
The crash caused many families in the area to evacuate, and it cost others like the Bryan family their lives.
“They had gotten home just two minutes before the accident happened.” Elmore said.
The Bryans were staying at the Elmore home while Megan and her husband Jordan were out of town.
“He and his kids were all outside in the driveway when the initial plume of anhydrous came through,” Elmore said.
The crash rocked the small town and all day Saturday, people were showing up with supplies and offering help to people like the Elmores.
“It was just overwhelming,” said Jerry Runde, Treasurer of the Teutopolis Civic Club. “The amount of support people coming in nonstop.”
Runde and his committee were planning their Oktoberfest event, but when they heard the news, they quickly shifted gears.
“Then we started hearing that there were some fatalities, and basically right there on that spot was, ‘OK, we’re not celebrating anything today, but what can we do to help?'” Runde said.
He was shocked at the amount of support he saw roll in. But seeing it replaced heartache with hope.
“People coming in nonstop had different businesses, local businesses just drop off pallets of soda,” Runde said. “Just incredible.”
He said he’s not sure what the next steps would be, but he knows the entire community will do something to help the families impacted by the crash.
“We’re just trying to do what we can to get what we need to get by because we can’t access any of our belongings,” Elmore said.
“Our mission, our goal, is not going to change, Runde said. “So we’ll find out a way, we’ll figure out what the family needs and we’ll be there to support them, whatever we can.”
Runde shared that the Civic Club is in the beginning stages of their planning, but they also welcome all forms of support.