2 people are dead after a fiery head on crash in Tazewell County. 2 vehicles collided head-on just before 2:00 Wednesday afternoon on Manito Road near Spring Lake School.
Neighbors describe the horrific scene and rather than staying inside their homes they ran out to help.
“I just immediately something told me to run as fast as you can, get over there as fast as you can to see if you can help.” Michelle Buley says.
Buley lives just across the normally-quiet curve of Manito Road. Wednesday afternoon she heard a loud bang that shook the windows on her home. She ran outside to find the aftermath of the crash. She and another neighbor were able to pull a driver out of a crumpled pickup.
“We just tried to pull her away and as soon as we did that the truck just went up in flames.” Buley says.
That driver was transported to the hospital, described as alert, conscious, and breathing. The other vehicle burst into flames before those inside could be saved.
“The deputies told me that they could see the smoke from the fire all the way back to the Mackinaw River.” Chief Deputy Jeff Lower, from the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department, explains.
“It was horrible, I just still remember him reaching out and trying to tell me ‘Hey’ and all I could tell him was ‘We’re trying to get you out, we’re trying.'” Buley says.
The 2 people inside that vehicle died. Buley says this isn’t the first time she’s seen a bad crash here, saying she watches people blow the stop signs on the 45-mile-per-hour road daily. Just a year ago, it happened in her own front yard.
“He sped off the side road and landed in our driveway. That little dirt pile over there, my son used to play in it. If he would have been outside that day he would’ve been dead.
Buley says she wishes it wasn’t a tragic situation like this one that brings attention to the danger.
“That guy, it was just horrible, I mean I wish we could have saved them but there was no way.” Buley says.
None of the victims names have been released. Crash reconstruction was done and the crash remains under investigation.