5 people heading to Chicago from Memphis killed in I-57 crash

MARION, Ill. — Five people from Memphis, Tennessee, who were headed to Chicago were killed in a crash in southern Illinois.

Illinois State Police said Friday the driver of an SUV and its four passengers died Thursday afternoon on Interstate 57 in Franklin County when the SUV crashed into the rear of a semitrailer.

Police on Friday identified the victims as the SUV’s driver, 80-year-old Magnolia G. Armstrong; 78-year-old Coraleen A. Luellen; 75-year-old Peggy Jackson Armstrong; 78-year-old Helen Elizabeth Armstrong; and 76-year-old Harold Edward Armstrong.

Fifty-nine-year-old Andrea E. Lesure survived the crash, as did the driver of the semitrailer, 38-year-old Dawit Tekeste Gebermichael of Houston.

It was unclear why those killed were headed to Chicago. Family friend Quincy Jones of Memphis tells The Southern Illinoisan that the group was traveling to Chicago for a funeral. However, Andrea Lesure’s son, Andre, told the Commercial Appeal in Memphis the SUV’s passengers were headed to Chicago for a wedding. He said they decided to drive because they weren’t fond of flying.

State Police said their investigation into the crash continues.

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