Highway Accident Report

Multivehicle Collision on Interstate 90
Hampshire-Marengo Toll Plaza
Near Hampshire, Illinois
October 1, 2003

NTSB Number HAR-06/03
NTIS Number PB2006-916203
PDF Document(2.7 MB)

Executive Summary:

On October 1, 2003, a multivehicle accident occurred on the approach to an Interstate 90 (I-90) toll plaza near Hampshire, Illinois. About 2:57 p.m., a 1995 Freightliner tractor-trailer chassis and cargo container combination unit was traveling eastbound on I-90, approaching the Hampshire–Marengo toll plaza at milepost 41.6, when it struck the rear of a 1999 Goshen GC2 25-passenger specialty bus. As both vehicles moved forward, the specialty bus struck the rear of a 2000 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup truck, which was pushed into the rear of a 1998 Ford conventional tractor-box trailer. As its cargo container and chassis began to overturn, the Freightliner also struck the upper portion of the pickup truck’s in-bed camper and the rear left side of the Ford trailer. The Freightliner and the specialty bus continued forward and came to rest in the median. The pickup truck was then struck by another eastbound vehicle, a 2000 Kenworth tractor with Polar tank trailer. Eight specialty bus passengers were fatally injured, and 12 passengers sustained minor-to-serious injuries. The bus driver, the pickup truck driver, and the Freightliner driver received minor injuries. The Ford driver and codriver and the Kenworth driver were not injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the failure of the Freightliner truck driver, who was operating his vehicle too fast for traffic conditions, to slow for traffic. Contributing to the accident was the traffic backup in a 45-mph zone, created by vehicles stopping for the Hampshire–Marengo toll plaza. The structural incompatibility between the Freightliner tractor-trailer and the specialty bus contributed to the severity of the accident.

The following safety issues were identified in this investigation:

As a result of this accident investigation, the Safety Board makes recommendations to the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the FMCSA, the Federal Highway Administration, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association. The Safety Board reiterates two recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration