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Semi driver cited in fatal I-39 crash

Pecatonica vicitm, 74, ID’d; wife, two others were injured

Published: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST

An SUV passenger killed around 3 p.m. Monday in a five-vehicle crash near a construction zone on Interstate 39 was a 74-year-old Pecatonica man, state police said Tuesday.

David E. Jones died when the SUV driven by his wife, Sara J. Jones, 71, was struck by a southbound semitrailer that failed to slow down entering the construction zone at state Route 72, state police said.

Three other people were injured in the accident that involved three more vehicles.

The semi driver, Jay S. Taylor, 55, of Judson, Ind., was cited for failure to reduce speed. The accident is under investigation.

According to the ISP:

Taylor was southbound on I-39 about a mile north of state Route 72 when he rear-ended the SUV, sending it into the west ditch. He then struck an SUV driven by William D. Young, 47, of Owatonna, Minnesota, then a passenger car driven by Carol L. Silvestri, 64, of Downers Grove. Finally, he swerved into the west ditch and struck a passenger car driven by Bernard C. Klotz, 71, of Fort Myers, Florida.

Sara Jones was flown to OSF St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, where she was in critical condition Tuesday morning, a hospital spokesman said.

Taylor was taken to Swedish American Hospital in Rockford, while Klotz’s passenger, Penny E. Klotz, 69, also of Fort Meyers, was taken to Rochelle Community Hospital.

Southbound I-39 was shut down at Baxter Road in Winnebago County for several hours as traffic was detoured onto state Route 251.

It was the second accident on I-39 within 5 miles that day: At 10:54 a.m., a northbound vehicle driven by Sharon Schwarz, 66, of Franklin Grove, was rear-ended by a vehicle driven by Brandon Gerdes, 21, of Minonk, the Ogle County Sheriff’s Department said.

Her passenger, Barbara Schwarz, 41, also of Franklin Grove, was taken to Rochelle Community Hospital with an injured leg.

Gerdes also was cited for failure to reduce speed.

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