Illinois ammonia truck crash: 5 people killed due to exposure to anhydrous ammonia identified

The five people who were killed after a truck overturned in central Illinois, causing a toxic substance to leak from its cargo and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of area residents have been identified. 

At about 8:40 p.m. Friday, the Effingham County Sheriff's Department and the Teutopolis Fire Department responded to a crash on US Route 40 just east of Teutopolis.

While investigating, first responders determined that a semitruck carrying caustic anhydrous ammonia toppled over and spilled more than half of its 7,500-gallon (28,390- liter) load, according to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

Officials determined that the crash site was unsafe and about 500 residents within a one-mile Teutopolis were evacuated. 

On Sunday, the Effingham County Coroner's Office identified the five people who died from exposure to anhydrous ammonia at the crash site.

Ammonia Leak Courtesy of Tyler Repking of Repking Media

They have been identified as:

  • Danny J. Smith, 67, of New Haven, Missouri
  • Vasile Cricovan, 31, of Twinsburg, Ohio
  • Kenneth Bryan, 34, of Teutopolis, Illinois and his two children
  • Rosie Bryan, 7, of Beecher City, Illinois
  • Walker Bryan, 10, of Beecher City, Illinois

Autopsies for the five deceased are scheduled for Monday morning.

Another five people were airlifted from the scene to area hospitals due to exposure. They range in age from 18 to 61.

Two additional people were admitted to St. Anthony Hospital in Effingham due to exposure at the scene.

Several people are also being treated at area hospitals due to traveling through the scene of the crash site.

Anhydrous ammonia is used by farmers to add nitrogen fertilizer to the soil, and it’s also used as a refrigerant in the cooling systems of large buildings such as warehouses and factories. According to the American Chemical Society, it is carried around the United States by pipeline, trucks and trains.

The investigation is ongoing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.