One killed in pileup that closed highway - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

One killed in pileup that closed highway

(Source: cNews) (Source: cNews)
(Source: cNews) (Source: cNews)
(Source: cNews) (Source: cNews)
(Source: cNews) (Source: cNews)

Highway 34 in Saline County, Ill. is back open after it was closed for several hours from a deadly, multi-vehicle crash early Monday morning.

It happened six miles north of Harrisburg at the Raleigh Curve around 3 a.m., according to the Saline County Sheriff's Office.

Still hours after the crash, Victor Lukancic looked on as crews continue to clean up the highway. He says this part of the highway looked much worse early this morning.

"(It) sounded like a bomb going off," Lukancic said. "We walked outside and found three semi (trucks) piled up on the curve."

 Lukancic says they went from truck to truck trying to help the drivers. According the Illinois State Police 52-year-old James Farmer from Harrisburg was behind the wheel of a blue 2004 Western Star semi-trailer.

"We helped get him out," Lukancic said. "We had to bust the window and the door and get him out because he was wanting out of the truck. There was a lot of diesel fuel going on the ground."

Investigators say 49-year-old Bradley Conkle from Rosiclare was heading south in a white 1996 Kenworth dump trailer loaded with coal. State police say for some unknown reason Conkle lost control of the semi-truck and overturned. Meanwhile state police say 35-year-old Danny Brown of Galatia was driving a yellow 2000 International semi-truck. Investigators say Brown crashed into Conkle's truck from the northbound direction. Conkle's semi was then hit again by Farmer.

"There was no part, all it was, it was frame and motor," Lukancic said. "There was no cab left on the truck."

The Saline county coroner pronounced Conkle died at the scene. Lukancic says this is not first time someone has crashed onto his property. But he adds what happened early Monday morning is a real tragedy.  

"I've seen something that I hope I never see again," Lukancic said.

Both Brown and Farmer were taken to Harrisburg hospital. Police say Brown was later airlifted for non life threatening injures. Meanwhile Framer was treated and left the hospital.

Hwy. 34 opened about 12:40 p.m. after ISP reconstructed the crash.

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