More details have been released regarding a four vehicle crash that occurred on Interstate 80 in Grundy County around 8 p.m. on Friday, October 8th.
The Illinois State Police said a vehicle driven by Travis Hochstatter, 44, of Wyanet and another vehicle operated by Robert Van Ness, 58, of Morris were next to each other heading westbound on Interstate 80 near Morris. That’s when Hochstateter crossed from the right lane to the left lane and struck Van Ness’s vehicle.
Both vehicles went through the median and into the eastbound lanes of Interstate 80. Illinois State Police officials say that’s when both units came into contact with a vehicle operated by Megan Vanderwall, 29, of Dunlap and a Ford driven by Carsen Smith, 18, of Grand Ridge.
Hochstatter, Van Ness and Vanderwall’s vehicle came to a rest on the right side of the road. Meanwhile, Smith’s vehicle entered the right ditch, rolled and caught fire. Grundy County Coroner John Callahan said due to the damage of the vehicle, Smith was pinned in the vehicle as it caught fire. Smith was pronounced dead at the scene shortly before midnight. A passenger in Smith’s vehicle was ejected.
Hochstatter, Van Ness, Vanderwall and two other passengers in the aforementioned vehicles were transported to Morris Hospital with nonlife threatening injuries. Travis Hochstatter was issued citations for: Improper Lane Usage and Driving Too Fast for Conditions. The accident remains under investigation.