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Firefighter Killed in I-55 Motorcycle Crash
UPDATED May 2, 6:40 p.m.
A Chicago firefighter with Springfield connections is dead after a motorcycle crash on I-55 in Springfield Thursday morning.
The crash involved the motorcycle 37-year-old Sean Sloe was riding and two semis.
Sloe is originally from the capital city, a graduate of Sacred Heart Griffin, and his family still lives in the area.
"This is probably one of the worst parts of being a state trooper is handling and being a part of a fatality crash," Illinois State Trooper Nathan Baker said.
Especially when it's a motorcycle crash and hundreds of motorcycles from across the state are all just miles away to honor a motorcycle officer who was killed in the line of duty.
“It's the memorial holiday month and it's extremely unfortunate," Baker said.
It is also a month where it seems motorcycles start riding out of the woodwork. Motorcycle Awareness Month. Hours before the horrific crash on I-55 ABATE—A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education-- was warning drivers of this very thing.
“Not only for motorists to see us but also for fellow motorcyclists to be aware and basically to be concerned for themselves," ABATE President Bruce Liebe said.
Riding in packs and having loud pipes are ways motorcyclists can stay safe, but nothing is foolproof.
State police are still determining what caused the fatal crash through accident reconstruction.
“They do a lot of measurements of skid marks, debris," Baker said.
And they have a lot of that to work with. The messy scene closed the highway for more than three hours, snarling traffic in both directions.
Word of the crash spread quickly as bikers at Halls Harley-Davidson got word that a fellow motorcyclist was down.
“Everybody rallies together and then you'll see all the motorcycles at the funeral or the procession," motorcyclist Dave Walsh said. "Especially, again, if it's law enforcement or military you'll see all them always together, kind of band together, that's what we do."
As for the crash investigation, state police said the drivers of both semis were not hurt and they did stop immediately after the crash. It may be a few days before we know whether any charges will be filed.
UPDATED May 2, 3:04 p.m.
The Chicago Fire Department has confirmed on its Twitter account that the accident victim was Chicago firefighter/paramedic Sean Sloe. They also confirmed he has a brother in the Springfield fire department.
UPDATED May 2, 12:05 p.m.
I-55 has been re-opened after a fatal accident earlier today.
UPDATED May 2, 11:05 a.m.
State police confirm a motorcyclist has died after an accident involving the motorcycle and two semis on southbound I-55 near the Clear Lake exit.
UPDATED May 2, 11:35 a.m.
Both southbound lanes of I-55 at mile marker 98 (Clear Lake exit) are closed due to an injury accident involving a motorcycle and two semi-trucks. All three vehicles were traveling southbound when the accident occurred. No word yet on the extent of injuries.
State police expect lanes to re-open around 1 p.m.
UPDATED May 2, 11:05 a.m.
Southbound I-55 is closed at the Clear Lake exit due to an accident. Traffic is being re-routed at that exit.