Fox 2's Anthony Kiekow spoke exclusively with their family.
"I am their cousin and can tell you that they were heading to a funeral when a van hit them from behind," Deonta Rogers said. "It's devastating."
The accident happened about 5:20 a.m., two miles south of Litchfield on northbound I-55. Investigators say a Chevy Impala with six people in it, two adults in the front and four kids in the back, for some reason either stopped or was going very slowly on the interstate. A white cargo van slammed into the back of the Impala.
Illinois State Police tell us two of the children and the woman in the front passenger seat were pronounced dead at the scene. They have been identified as Alea Shannon, 27, and her sons Alfredo McGee Jr., 8, and Armondo McGee, 2.
"It's so hard, and we just don't understand," Rogers said.
The two other children who were hurt were both taken to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center where they are being treated. Annastashia, 6, is listed in critical condition and Alicea, 5, is in stable condition. Their father, who was driving the Impala, Alfredo McGee, 31, was taken to a Litchfield hospital and then flown to a Springfield hospital. He is listed in stable condition.
Fox 2 cameras were rolling as family members prayed before driving to the Springfield hospital.
"God we pray for a safe trip," one family member said.
The McGee family had recently moved to East St Louis from Decatur.
Police say the driver of the van was not hurt.
At this point, investigators don’t know why the Impala was either stopped or going slowly on the highway.
State police say DUI tests on the van driver came back clean and that he has been cooperative. Tests will be done on the Impala driver to see if he was impaired at all.
Related story: Mother, 2 children killed in I-55 crash near Litchfield, IL