TEUTOPOLIS, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) — Illinois State Police is asking for the public’s help in finding and identifying a vehicle they say was potentially involved in the crash that caused an anhydrous ammonia leak that killed five people and injured several others.
ISP linked to this video that they say shows the vehicle passing through the intersection.
According to police the crash occurred at 19470 East U.S. Highway 40. The crash involved a semi-truck tanker carrying anhydrous ammonia that was punctured in the crash and leaked causing the evacuation of the nearby area and five deaths.
ISP said investigation led police to believe a dark colored vehicle of unknown make and model may have been involved in the incident as it headed westbound on U.S. 40. The video is from the intersection of Spring Creek Road in Montrose, Illinois and U.S. 40. Police believe the vehicle could have passed the semi-truck tanker.
The tanker traveling on U.S. 40 Friday night veered to the right to avoid a collision when another vehicle tried to pass it. It jackknifed, toppled and hit the trailer hitch of a vehicle parked just off the road, leaving it with a 6-inch (15-centimeter) hole in the chemical container, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
The crash spilled more than half of the tanker’s 7,500-gallon (28,390-liter) load of anhydrous ammonia — a chemical that can burn or corrode organic tissue. Farmers use it to add nitrogen fertilizer to the soil, and it acts as a refrigerant in the cooling systems of large buildings such as warehouses and factories.
The toxic plume released forced the temporary evacuation of about 500 Teutopolis residents within a 1-mile (1.6-kilometer radius) of the crash site.
Police are asking anyone with surveillance footage of the incident or this vehicle in the surrounding area that could provide more information to contact the Illinois State Police Division of Criminal Investigation Zone 8 at 217-342-7881.
John O’Connor of the Associated Press contributed to this report.