Will County Coroner IDs truck driver killed in I-55 crash

The Will County Coroner’s Office announced Friday night that it had identified the truck driver killed in a fiery wreck last month on Interstate 55.

Lamonte Dion Tate, 31, of St. Louis, was traveling north in a semitrailer on Interstate 55 about 4:30 p.m. July 25 toward the construction zone south of Arsenal Road, state police said. Traffic was backed up south of Lorenzo Road at mile marker 239 in Wilmington, but Tate reportedly failed to stop in time, causing a chain reaction.

The semitrailer struck the pickup truck a 73-year-old Wilmington woman was driving, which then struck another semitrailer with a 31-year-old Danville man inside. The second semitrailer hit a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, which a 39-year-old Dwight man was driving, and the Chevrolet rear-ended a Toyota Prius with a 66-year-old St. Louis man inside. The semitrailers and Chevrolet caught fire. Tate was pronounced dead on the scene about 8:05 p.m., and the Wilmington woman was seriously injured.

The coroner’s office said in a news release Friday that it had taken more than a week to identify Tate because of the extent of the burns on his body. He was positively identified through DNA comparison, the release said.

An autopsy showed he suffered thermal injuries.

More lane closures begin Monday on I-55, near where the crash occurred.

The speed limit in the work zone has been reduced to 45 mph. Rumble strips have been installed to alert motorists to the work zone. And, state police have dedicated special patrols to the area to enforce traffic laws and enhance safety, the Illinois Department of Transportation said in a news release this week.

IDOT recommends Interstate 80 and Route 47 as alternative routes.