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First responders: pay attention when driving

MT. VERNON (WSIL) — With this week’s deadly accident that caused backups on two area interstates, first responders are urging you to pay attention while driving. They say common sense decisions can help save your life. 

Mt. Vernon Fire Chief Kevin Sargent responded to the deadly three-vehicle crash on Interstate 57 Wednesday, "We ask people people slow down pay attention get rid of your distraction make sure that you’re driving safely," said Chief Sargent. 

Illinois State Police say 86-year-old Helen Troutt, from Opdyke, died in the accident. She was a passenger in a car that crossed the median of I-57 near Mount Vernon and crashed into a semi and SUV. The crash caused Interstate 57 south at Dix and Interstate 64 east at Woodlawn to be closed for several hours.

Chief Sargent says first responders face many challenges during an interstate crash, like drivers speeding and not paying attention. 

Chief Sargent explains,"To the people that drive by with their cellphones hanging out the window trying to get a video of whatever we’re working on: put the cell phone down." 

Between 2013 and 2017, there more than 1,800 crashes on I-57, over a 50-mile stretch across Franklin, Williamson, and Jefferson Counties. Twenty of those crashes were fatal.

"Don’t become a statistic. Pay attention, slow down, and make sure that you get to your destination safety that way everybody could get their destination safely," stresses Chief Sargent.

With Memorial Day weekend ahead of us, Chief Sargent urges drivers to keep themselves and those around them safe.

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