Multivehicle crash closes I-88 in Rock Falls, scatters 40,000 pounds of meat in the road

Polo man suffers injuries that are not life-threatening

emergency lights

ROCK FALLS – An eastbound section of Interstate 88 was closed for five hours after 20 tons of meat went sliding across the roadway after three semitractor-trailers and a passenger vehicle crashed about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday in Rock Falls.

No one was seriously injured.

According to emails from Illinois State Police:

A disabled semitractor-trailer parked on the right side of the interstate, driven by Irankunda Zeggy, 30, of Keller, Texas, was rear-ended by a second semi, driven by Arturo Orozco-Mercado, 26, of Papillion, Nebraska.

That caused the disabled semi’s trailer to detach, rip open and spill about 40,000 pounds of meat.

A third semi, driven by Francis R. Isherwood, 60, of Joliet, passed both trucks, but hit several pallets full of meat and jackknifed, blocking both eastbound lanes.

A sedan a short distance behind the third semi, driven by Conrad G. Walker, 73, of Polo, then struck the rear of its trailer.

Walker was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.

Orozco-Mercado was cited for failure to move over for a disabled vehicle, which carries a fine of up to $10,000. The company for which he was driving was not provided.

All three semitrucks sustained extensive damage.

Traffic was diverted to state Route 40 while the debris was cleaned; the roadway was reopened about 3:25 a.m. Thursday, according to the ISP.

Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.