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Truck driver killed in 3-vehicle crash on I-39 in Rochelle (Updated)


Illinois State Police report that a Texas truck driver suffered fatal injuries Friday night after 3 semi's crashed on I-39 near I-88 in Rochelle.

Pronounced dead at the scene was 60-year old Ralph Maness of Sanger, Texas.

Reports indicate that a semi-tractor trailer driven by 41-year old William Spearman of Chicago was traveling northbound at a slow rate of speed. The Maness semi then crashed into the rear of the truck as it burst into flames.

A semi-tractor trailer driven by 36-year old Craig Zimbauer of Elk Mound, Wisconsin swerved into the right ditch  to avoid the other trucks. It eventually caught on fire as did the Spearman semi.

Spearman and Zimbauer refused medical treatment at the scene. The state tropper did ticket Spearman for violating the minimum speed limit posted.

Traffic was backed up in the northbound lane of I-39 for several hours on Friday night. Emergency personnel were on the scene until early Saturday morning.

Smoke was also a problem in the area right after the accident due to the fire from the 3 semi-trailer trucks.

Several area fire departments along with Rochelle police assisted at the scene.

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