A Georgia family of six was involved in a major two-vehicle accident on Interstate 24, near Vienna, Wednesday evening, Dec. 26. The van they were traveling in (pictured right) was stuck by a semi tractor-trailer combination at mile marker 15 at approximately 7:04 p.m. that day.
The driver of the 2004 Honda Odyssey, Malik M. Akhtar, age 48, of Alpharetta, Ga. received non-life threatening injuries. He and two of the children, an 11 year-old male and a 13 year-old female were transported to Heartland Hospital by ambulance.
The other three passengers, a 44 year-old female, an eight year-old female and a 15 year-old male, were airlifted to hospitals in Evansville, Ind. with possible life-threatening injuries.
Three of the minor children were reportedly not wearing seat belts at the time of the accident.
The driver of the semi, 27 year-old Marcus Barrett, of Fayetteville, N.C., was not injured. His truck received moderate front-end damage.
Barrett told The Vienna Times the morning after the crash; “I was driving about 50 miles per hour, because I knew it was slick, when I saw the van come around me.”
He said it looked like the driver of the van was going to shift lanes very close to him and in a dangerous spot, due to the snowy road conditions. “I said out loud – ‘Don’t do that’,” Barrett explained.
“The driver lost control [in a slushy area on the roadway] and spun right in front of me into a concrete bridge railing and then back in front of me.” Barrett said.
Vienna Fire Department personnel were called to the scene to extricate the injured from the passenger vehicle.
Johnson County, Massac County and Lake of Egypt ambulance services, as well as AirEvac medics from Marion, Mt. Vernon and Perryville, Mo., responded to the scene to treat and transport the injured.
I-24 was closed for several hours.
The driver was issued four citations, including three seat belt violations and driving to fast for conditions.
Illinois State Police investigated the accident.