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HAMEL. IL – The Illinois State Police and first responders have shut down southbound I-55 near Hamel Illinois after a fatal multi-vehicle accident.  The accident has taken the life of 2 people, and least 12 individuals seriously injured.  Authorities have called in additional EMS units for a mass casualty event.

Medical helicopters are landing near the accident to airlift victims to area hospitals.

The accident happened around 6:15 pm and involves 8 vehicles, including 2 semi-tractor trailers.

Southbound traffic is being diverted to Illinois Route 140, while northbound traffic is crawling along very slowly.

It’s expected that the southbound lanes will be closed for several hours as accident reconstruction conducts an investigation.