Man Killed in I-55 Crash Near Channahon

The driver was struck from behind and pushed into a semi-truck that was in front of him, reports said.

An Arlington Heights man whose car was struck from behind on Interstate 55 near Channahon died Wednesday afternoon at Presence St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, according to the Will County Coroner's Office.

John R. Hoeppel, 61, was declared dead at 4:01 p.m.

The Illinois State Police, which is handling the investigation, said the driver of the car that caused the accident was southbound and had just crested it a hill near the Interstate 80 interchange, according to a Sun-Times Media Wire story. He could not slow down to avoid striking the rear of Hoeppel's car.

The impact from the collision pushed Hoeppel's car under a semi-truck in front of him, the story said. The first car flipped over and struck another vehicle, the story said.

The driver of the first car, whose name was not released, sustained non-life-threatening injuries for which he was treated at Presence St. Joseph. He was ticketed for failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident, the Sun-Times Media story said.

The Illinois State Police is investigating the crash and will reconstruct the scene, the coroner's office said. An autopsy on Hoeppel will be conducted Wednesday.
CJ July 25, 2013 at 09:44 AM
Unreal. SLOW DOWN and pay attention. That's two deaths on that road in the last week or so!
Jamielynn July 25, 2013 at 10:01 AM
IDOT needs to stop all this construction and quit getting frequent backups on that road., there is always road construction in that stretch of road. Just replace the road once and for all and quit making "repairs"... This is what causes these accidents!
Richard Formella July 25, 2013 at 10:09 AM
Not to blame anyone, but IDOT should do more to warn drivers of potentially hazardous conditions. The speed limit should be dropped once you reach I-80 during the daytime hours. Flashing yellow lights or something. People do need to slow down, but when you are doing 60-70 mph, like most people do, reaching the top oh the hill, and then...oh, shit!!! Yes, there are signs(I think one or two) saying construction ahead, but that hill is bad news for speeders.
Herc July 25, 2013 at 10:39 AM
Sad, sad, sad.......prayers for the family!
None of Your Business July 25, 2013 at 10:47 AM
Two fatalities on 55 in exactly one week. Last week's was on Wednesday as well. I drive this stretch of 55 every day to and from work. Scares the hell out of me. I thank God every day I survive the drive.
Kristine Neumann July 25, 2013 at 12:30 PM
@none of your business, what scares the hell out of me are the trucks. I know the truck driver wasn't at fault in this case, but sometimes when I drive the expressways the truck drivers are right on my rear end. Scary because they can't stop like a car. I try to change lanes so they're not in back of me.
Audra Saltzman July 25, 2013 at 12:42 PM
I know construction has to be done, but in this case, why can't D Construction (who is doing the work) keep working thru the night? If they worked thru the night maybe 4 months of work would only be 2-3 months. As long as there is construction work being done on that highway, the more risk there is driving on that road.
None of Your Business July 25, 2013 at 12:55 PM
I agree Kristine! I had a semi run me off of I-80 in 2007. I don't trust them. It took me a while to get back on the interstate, and I still have problems being next to a semi. Look at last week's accident on 55, that semi slammed right into the back of that Ford Fusion. There was nothing left of that car.
Kristine Neumann July 25, 2013 at 01:51 PM
@none of your business, I commented on that accident with the semi & Ford fusion last week. How could the truck driver not see that traffic was slowing down when he sits higher up in his truck & can see better than someone in a car? As I recall he was given a ticket for keeping false records, which is another problem.
Patricia Gribben Mccloskey July 25, 2013 at 02:11 PM
I think they need state police at 55 and 80 intersection.. Maybe a show of force with their lights on will help.. Something needs to be done for sure as this can happen to any one of us and our families
None of Your Business July 25, 2013 at 02:18 PM
That's a good question Kristine. And there is no crest in the road over there, going northbound. It's a few miles north of where the cars came to rest after impact. The explanation is he was not paying any attention. He couldn't have been. If he was, maybe there still would've been an accident, but not so severe? I don't know, but it's very scary and I thank God every day I survive my drives down 55. And yes, the driver was given a ticket for keeping false records which I agree with you, it's another problem. A huge problem.
None of Your Business July 25, 2013 at 02:20 PM
I think they need state police in areas where they have the signs warning people construction is in this many miles, or this lane is closed in this many miles. Maybe that will get people to slow down and we can avoid having tragedies like this. Both accidents, people weren't paying attention, couldn't stop in time, and now two innocent people are dead, leaving their loves ones grieving and asking why.
JLO July 25, 2013 at 03:51 PM
I drove past this accident JUST after it happened-- and in front of me was a Will County Deputy...who continued on his way-- without stopping to lend aid- NO other first responders were on the scene yet and there were people walking around on the Southbound side of the road.. According to WC dispatch-- "they are under NO obligation to provide assistance if they are off duty". They 1. he shouldn't have been in uniform and 2. he still should have stopped to help. And they wonder why people don't respect them.
None of Your Business July 25, 2013 at 05:02 PM
That disgusts me that the deputy just went on his way. Whether you're on duty or not, they're supposed to protect and serve. When you see or drive passed something like that, and you're a medic, police officer or whatever, stop and make sure they're okay!!!
Kristine Neumann July 25, 2013 at 05:43 PM
JLO, I thought they're "on duty' 24 hours a day. That's what they tell the Chicago police anyway. It's a shame that this is what has happened in our society. How about that neighbor that tried to save the man who was stuck in his car in a pond in Arlington Heights? He didn't have to try & save him, but he did try & he's not a police officer.
Herc July 25, 2013 at 05:48 PM
@none, don't you know their under so much pressure they need to retire when their 50! (sarcasm) This is why people don't respect the cops. That man should be fired for not doing his job, and I don't care if he was off duty.
JLO July 25, 2013 at 11:56 PM
I am going to contact the family and give them his squad car # and the date and time I was following him.... I'd be glad to testify against him for he is guilty of depraved indifference-- which is a crime.
towny1234 July 26, 2013 at 08:22 AM
no offense JLO but if you were so concerned about the individual, why did you continue driving on as well? Agree that the officer should have stopped, but if I were the family and you contacted me, I would want to know why you didn't stop to help.
JLO July 27, 2013 at 09:08 AM
1 ) I called 911 who told me to NOT get out of my vehicle on the northbound side as that could possibly lead to another accident 2 ) I'm not trained professional first responder.
Pamela Pitts Ostapkowicz August 02, 2013 at 02:16 PM
JLO... Isn't it funny how they have a different set of rules... Medical personnel have to stop. I feel he has a moral obligation to stop!!!!! I have stopped at several accidents to make sure the victims were OK and have stayed until help arrived. Shame on him!


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